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George Lakoff        

Linguistics Expert, Author, Moral Politics, The Political Mind, Don't Think of An Elephant!

George Lakoff is one of the world's leading experts on the framing of issues in politics.

Professor George Lakoff is also one of the world's best-known cognitive scientists and linguists. In short, he "understands how we understand." He is the Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley.

He has advised the Democratic caucuses in the House and Senate, helped Democratic candidates around the country, and worked with hundreds of progressive advocacy groups on issues ranging from the environment and health care to civil liberties and international relations.

His bestselling book Don't Think of an Elephant! taught a generation of political activists how framing works in politics, and had a powerful effect on the national elections in 2006 and 2008.

His other books also provide a thorough guide to political thought and language. They include: Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, Thinking Points: Communicating Our American Values and Vision, Whose Freedom? The Battle Over America's Most Important Idea and The Political Mind: A Cognitive Scientist's Guide to Your Brain and Its Politics.

In his academic life, Professor Lakoff is renowned for his discoveries on how the mind is embodied, how metaphorical thought works, what meaning is, and how meaning structures language. His current research is on how language and thought work in the brain.

In addition to his books on mind, language and politics, Professor Lakoff has written widely on philosophy, poetics, art, and mathematics and he also blogs for The Huffington Post.

He is a spellbinding speaker, known for both his clarity and insight. He has lectured throughout the world, both as a political strategist and as a scholar.

Speech Topics

The Political Mind

Professor George Lakoff is most famous for his ideas about the centrality of metaphor to human thinking, political behavior and society.

According to Professor Lakoff, most of what is being taught in political science just isn’t true. It assumes that reasoning is conscious, but his research shows that emotion gets in the way of reason. He explores how liberals and conservatives think and why they talk past each other, putting them at odds over so many seemingly unrelated issues--like taxes, abortion, regulation, and social programs. He also delves into the Obama Administration’s communication strategies, telling what went wrong-and what can be done about it.

In an environment too often dominated by sound-bite arguments and political polarization, Professor Lakoff’s fascinating and interactive presentations open the dialogue to new understanding of politics today.

The Christian Science Monitor said of Lakoff, “Even those who disagree with him will profit deeply from encountering his challenging ideas" and George Soros said, "I learned a lot from Lakoff. You will too."

Why The Brain Changes Everything

Professor George Lakoff has been at the center of research on how thought and language arise in the brain for over two decades. He is one of the founders of the field of embodied cognition, which studies how the brain's connections to the body and bodily experience structure both ideas - even abstract ideas - and language.

Professor Lakoff observes that much of what is taught in universities is based on an outmoded theory of human reason dating back centuries. New research on the brain and mind radically changes our understanding of what human reason is, bringing in emotion, metaphor, empathy, and much more.

This is not a just simple addition to our knowledge. Understanding the brain fundamentally changes our understanding of our world and ourselves - everything from politics to mathematics, from language to religion, from philosophy to human relationships.

Thought is physical - in two ways. Every thought and feeling is carried out by neural circuitry in the brain that naturally gives rise to mental structures called frames and to metaphorical thought. Language is physical as well. This talk is an introduction to the new world of the brain. If you think you know how you think, think again!


This is why conservatives win: George Lakoff explains the importance of framing — and what Democrats need to learn

Messaging matters, George Lakoff tells Salon, but the key to politics is combining message with a moral grounding

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