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George Lakoff
George Lakoff is Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley and best-selling author many books including The ALL NEW Don’t Think of an Elephant.

Entries by George Lakoff

Understanding Trump

(150) Comments | Posted July 22, 2016 | 3:45 PM

There is a lot being written and spoken about Trump by intelligent and articulate commentators whose insights I respect. But as a longtime researcher in cognitive science and linguistics, I bring a perspective from these sciences to an understanding of the Trump phenomenon. This perspective is hardly unknown. More that...

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¿Por qué Trump?

(5) Comments | Posted March 13, 2016 | 10:12 AM

Donald Trump está ganando las primarias presidenciales a tal ritmo que es probable que llegue a convertirse en el próximo candidato republicano a la presidencia y quizá en presidente. Los demócratas no entienden por qué gana -y además con esa facilidad-; e incluso hay muchos republicanos que piensan que no...

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Why Trump?

(286) Comments | Posted March 3, 2016 | 6:18 AM

Donald Trump is winning Republican presidential primaries at such a great rate that he seems likely to become the next Republican presidential nominee and perhaps the next president. Democrats have little understanding of why he is winning -- and winning handily; and even many Republicans don't see him as a...

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Pope Francis Gets the Moral Framing Right: Global Warming Is Where the Practical and the Moral Meet

(106) Comments | Posted June 25, 2015 | 3:40 PM

Beginning with my book Moral Politics in 1996 (Ch. 12), I have been arguing that environmental issues are moral issues. There I reviewed and critiqued conservative metaphors of nature as a resource, as property, as an adversary to be conquered.

Instead I argued that we needed to conceptualize nature...

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Democratic Strategies Lost Big. Here's an Alternative.

(58) Comments | Posted November 6, 2014 | 7:50 AM

It is time to shine a light on the strategies used by Democrats, and on the Democratic infrastructure that uses those strategies.

Democratic strategists have been segmenting the electorate and seeking individual self-interest-based issues in each electoral block. The strategists also keep suggesting a move to the right. This...

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Charles Fillmore, Discoverer of Frame Semantics, Dies in SF at 84: He Figured Out How Framing Works

(9) Comments | Posted February 18, 2014 | 7:49 AM

Charles J. Fillmore, one of the world's greatest linguists -- ever -- died last Thursday, February 13, at the age of 84 in San Francisco. He was the discoverer of frame semantics, who did the essential research on the nature of framing in thought and language. He discovered that we...

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SOTU 2014: The Cognitive Power of the President

(21) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 7:10 AM

There are enough people guessing what the president will do. This is about what he almost certainly won't do, but what I would like him to do.

The president has material power without the Congress, and personally, I would like to see him use it. He could issue an executive...

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The New York Times Uncovers Conservative Attacks and Then Prints One; Both Are on the Front Page

(489) Comments | Posted November 25, 2013 | 2:58 PM

The NY Times has many virtues and some important flaws. Both were evident on the paper's front page this week and there is a lot to be learned by what did and did not appear there.

For decades, Republican conservatives have constructed and carried out extensive, well-planned, long-term communication...

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La Siria e la causalità sistemica: il problema del framing di Obama

(14) Comments | Posted September 15, 2013 | 6:27 AM

Ogni lingua del mondo ha, nella sua grammatica, un modo per esprimere la causalità diretta: l'applicazione locale di una forza che produce un effetto locale, circoscritto nel tempo e nello spazio. Prendiamo un bicchiere d'acqua e lo beviamo: causalità diretta. Bombardiamo un ospedale, lo distruggiamo e uccidiamo le persone al...

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Systemic Causation and Syria: Obama's Framing Problem

(481) Comments | Posted September 13, 2013 | 8:10 AM

This is the second of two articles analyzing the mode of thought and the language in public discourse on Syria from the perspective of cognitive science and linguistics.

Every language in the world has a way in its grammar to express direct causation: a local application of force...

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Obama Reframes Syria: Metaphor and War Revisited

(524) Comments | Posted September 6, 2013 | 8:37 AM

President Obama has reframed his position on Syria, adjusting the Red Line metaphor: It wasn't his Red Line, not his responsibility for drawing it. It was the Red Line drawn by the world, by the international community -- both legally by international treaty, and morally by universal revulsion against the...

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Why Ultra-Conservatives Like the Sequester

(1693) Comments | Posted February 26, 2013 | 7:54 AM

Paul Krugman, Joe Stiglitz, Robert Reich and other major economists have pointed out that the deficit is not an urgent economic problem and that, to the contrary, the economy would be helped by an increase in public investment and harmed by drastic cuts. The Sequester would hurt the economy, millions...

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How the State of the Union Worked

(562) Comments | Posted February 15, 2013 | 7:27 AM

Political journalists have a job to do -- to examine the SOTU's long list of proposals. They are doing that job, many are doing it well, and I'll leave it to them. Instead, I want to discuss what in the long run is a deeper question: How did the SOTU...

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The Price of Our Freedom

(647) Comments | Posted December 17, 2012 | 6:45 AM

"Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?" -- Barack Obama, Newtown Address, December 16, 2012

That sentence, uttered by President Obama in his Newtown Address, may turn out to be...

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Michigan's New Corporate Servitude Law: It Takes Away Worker Rights

(1667) Comments | Posted December 13, 2012 | 8:00 AM

Michigan has just passed a corporate servitude law. It is designed to take away many of the worker rights that unions have conferred throughout their history: the right to a living wage. The right to equal pay for women. The right to deferred payments in the form of pensions. The...

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Why It's Hard to Replace the 'Fiscal Cliff' Metaphor

(195) Comments | Posted December 3, 2012 | 6:48 AM

Writers on economics have been talking since the election about why the "fiscal cliff" metaphor is misleading. Alternative metaphors have been offered like the fiscal hill, fiscal curb, and fiscal showdown, as if one metaphor could easily be replaced by another that makes more...

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Global Warming Systemically Caused Hurricane Sandy

(1251) Comments | Posted October 30, 2012 | 11:04 AM

Yes, global warming systemically caused Hurricane Sandy -- and the Midwest droughts and the fires in Colorado and Texas, as well as other extreme weather disasters around the world. Let's say it out loud, it was causation, systemic causation.

Systemic causation is familiar. Smoking is a systemic cause of lung...

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Liderazgo moral: lo que tiene que demostrar Obama en el debate, y muy en serio

(3) Comments | Posted October 16, 2012 | 10:46 AM

Según Nate Silver, experto en encuestas de The New York Times, "las encuestas instantáneas hechas tras el debate sugieren entre un empate y una modesta victoria para el vicepresidente Joseph R. Biden Jr".

Biden aguantó el tipo y quizá incluso más. Y era importante. Pero el presidente Obama...

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Moral Leadership: What Obama Has to Show Tomorrow in the Debate Performance, and for Real

(618) Comments | Posted October 15, 2012 | 8:15 AM

As Nate Silver, NY Times polling expert put it, "Instant polls conducted after the debate are suggestive of something between a tie and a modest win for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr."

Biden held his own and maybe a bit more. That was important. But President Obama...

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Why Obama Lost the First Debate

(127) Comments | Posted October 4, 2012 | 8:20 AM

Coauthor (with Elisabeth Wehling) of The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic.

You don't win a presidential debate by being a policy wonk. Obama violated all the basics of presidential debating. The best defense is a good offense....

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