My interest: George Lakoff's work

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My interest: George Lakoff's work



I've registered here because I'm looking for more people who are impressed with George Lakoff's work.

Wait! I've already read a few posts (but not all) here and realize there are some "he's useless" opinion of him here. I'd like to just say what I see of importance in his work.

First, he is not talking about just changing language (eg spin). He is talking about how "progressives" do not understand what values unite us/them (wherever you put yourself). He explains what "moral values" are in terms of cognitive linguistics and how they fit into our physical experience as human beings. He then talks about how that can be seen through our language, specifically metaphors. This is an unconscious process. He then talks about two basic world views - he calls them strict-father and nurturant-parent, there's another system that calls it 'jackal' and 'giraffe', I suppose in the feminist view it might be patriarchy and matriarchy; however, we all have both world views within us, but to a greater or lesser extent (this is all a huge generalization). He then relates it to our political structures, and shows how the conservatives have figured out what values they hold in common and how to express that in language. Part of why they've been able to do this has to do with which values they hold in priority.
This post is getting awfully long. Maybe I should put the other part in another post.
But I'm here because I'm looking for other people who feel encouraged by his work.

[ 14 November 2007: Message edited by: schorn ]

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

This was a particularly interesting and instructive thread on George Lakoff from a few years back:

[url= 101: what the NDP still doesn't get[/url]

Maybe you could scan that thread and continue the discussion here?

Edited to Add: Also, you should probably edit your opening post and change the thread title to something that lets people know what the thread is about (i.e. George Lakoff). And welcome to babble!

[ 13 November 2007: Message edited by: Catchfire ]


Yes, thank you. I see how the subject heading is very uninformative.

When you say "Maybe you could scan that thread and continue the discussion here?", do you really mean here, as in this introduction part, or do you mean there, where they were discussing it, but as a new topic?

I'm really uneducated in using these websites, and find all the different categories, icons, and buttons I can click, very confusing - so any advice on the mechanics of using this site is really appreciated.
For instance, why is there an "Add Reply" button directly under this window, and another "Add Reply" button in the white space under the entire blue box that holds everything? Are they different?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Hey, no problem, schorn. I just meant you could read parts of that other thread (particularly the posts by rasmus, who is particularly interested in Lakoff) and then either cut what he said and paste it in this thread to discuss it, or just write some basic thoughts of yours here.

As for the mechanics of the site, don't worry, you'll get the hang of it. The two "reply" buttons are just for convenience, but they both do the same thing.

My only experience with Lakoff was in that thread I linked to, and I found his ideas intriguing. I don't have time to respond seriously right now, but I'll be back in a few days to give it a shot. If we're lucky, rasmus might drop by and give his two cents.


schorn, you sent me a PM, but I can't reply, because you aren't accepting PMs.


OK rasmus,
I think I fixed the problem. As I said, I'm new at this technical stuff and find it confusing.

The latest metaphor I'm seeing in BC is 'growing pains'. This is a very smart, very scary one. The implication is that what is happening here is part of a natural process, a healthy process, a maturing process; that the parts feeling pain are actually benefiting, and are part of a whole body that is benefiting. It assumes the SF belief that maturation is painful, but that the benefits are strength and maturity.

It goes along with this whole 'civil city' stuff - civil = polite, controlled, civilized, having manners versus ill-mannered, dirty, impolite, spoiled, undisciplined. It focussed on individual "misbehaviour" needed harsh discipline because of lack of internal "moral strength".

I can see where it's coming from in terms of moral values, but to then go back to my moral values ('progressive') and build up a different frame is a much more daunting task because it means developing a whole new perspective.