The Political Mind: A Cognitive Scientist's Guide to Your Brain and Its Politics
A groundbreaking scientific examination of the way our brains understand politics from a New York Times bestselling author
One of the world 's best-known linguists and cognitive scientists, George Lakoff has a knack for making science make sense for general readers. In his new book, Lakoff spells out what cognitive science has discovered about reason, and reveals that human reason is far more interesting than we thought it was. Reason is physical, mostly unconscious, metaphorical, emotion-laden, and tied to empathy-and there are biological explanations behind our moral and political thought processes. His call for a New Enlightenment is a bold and striking challenge to the cherished beliefs not only of philosophers, but of pundits, pollsters, and political leaders. The Political Mind is a passionate, erudite, and groundbreaking book that will appeal to anyone interested in how the mind works and how we function socially and politically.
Brainy politics vs Enlightenment politics?
By Kerry Walters - June 3, 2008
George Lakoff, cognitive scientist and political commentator, returns in The Political Mind to themes already made familiar in earlier books such as Moral Politics (2002), Don't Think of an Elephant (2004) and Whose Freedom? (2007). He argues that political discourse arises from a process of conceptual and metaphorical framing which ultimately is grounded in the way the brain works, and that an understanding of this process is essential for successful political campaigns.
I don't know that there's really anything in The Political Mind that Lakoff hasn't already said in one form or another elsewhere (the primary reason for the three-star rating). But he does stress here what he sees as the errors of the theory of mind he argues was formed by the Enlightenment and which political progressives still assume today. Lakoff characterizes that theory as stressing the transparency of mind, drawing a sharp division between reason and emotion, and assuming that reason is a... read more
How to Frame Political Debates
By Ken Ransford - July 18, 2008
We think in metaphors, and words describe metaphors. A metaphor is a description like "He's cold as ice." He's not cold, he's unfriendly, but we know what it means. Metaphors form neural pathways, or connections, between neurons. The more we activate the pathways, the stronger they become, and the more we accept them as true. Metaphors, words, thoughts, and language therefore have a neurological basis that result from physical transformation of brains (actual physiological change to brain cells similar to increased muscle mass that results from weight lifting).
Republicans have intuitively known this and have used language to create metaphors and neural pathways that have become dogmatic in America--example: tax relief, page 234. Relief is not normally connected to taxes (road building, social security, and armed forces result from taxes, not relief). However, tax relief has become a metaphor in the US that is identified as generally good, and puts anyone who... read more
Rich, like chocolate cake
By Michael P. Maslanka - June 14, 2008
While building on his previous books, Lakoff also gets into a new area: the use of narratives in poltics.The DWIs and purorted drug use of President Bush ,standing alone, never mattered because people saw him through the narrative of Redemption, the overcoming of adversity and the possibility of salvation. The opening section on Anna Nicole Smith and the narratives used to view her contain some of the book's best writing. it also helps explain the power of Senator Clinton---women who have it rough(sex discrimination, faithless husband etc) don't just identify with her, they are her and she is them as she struggled for the nomination. He hammers away ,as before on frames and the building of them. As a trial attorney I see this all the time---if the other side responds to my framing, I will usually win because in telling their "story" they just end up repeating mine. Instead, to be persuasive you must create a different story. The Dems are still having a hard time grasping this... read more
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