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The Political Mind: A Cognitive Scientist's Guide to Your Brain and Its Politicsby George Lakoff
Synopses & Reviews
In What's the Matter with Kansas?, Thomas Frank pointed out that a great number of Americans actually vote against their own interests. In The Political Mind, George Lakoff explains why.As it turns out, human beings are not the rational creatures we've so long imagined ourselves to be. Ideas, morals, and values do not exist somewhere outside the body, ready to be examined and put to use. Instead, they exist quite literally inside the brain-and they take physical shape there. For example, we form particular kinds of narratives in our minds just like we form specific muscle memories such as typing or dancing, and then we fit new information into those narratives. Getting that information out of one narrative type and into another-or building a whole new narrative altogether-can be as hard as learning to play the banjo. Changing your mind isn't like changing your body-it's the same thing.But as long as progressive politicians and activists persist in believing that people use an objective system of reasoning to decide on their politics, the Democrats will continue to lose elections. They must wrest control of the terms of the debate from their opponents rather than accepting their frame and trying to argue within it.This passionate, erudite, and groundbreaking book will appeal to readers of Steven Pinker and Thomas Frank. It is a fascinating read for anyone interested in how the mind works, how society works, and how they work together.
A forefront linguist and cognitive scientist offers insight into the latest discoveries about the scientific origins of human reason, revealing its functioning as a physical, emotional, and largely unconscious process that may be effectively evaluated on philosophical and political levels. Reprint.
About the Author
George Lakoff is Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley.
Table of Contents
Introduction : brain change and social change — How the brain shapes the political mind — Anna Nicole on the brain — The political unconscious — The brain's role in family values — The brain's role in political ideologies — Political challenges for the twenty-first-century mind — A new consciousness — Traumatic ideas : the War on Terror — Framing reality : privateering — Fear of framing — Confronting stereotypes : sons of the welfare queen — Aim above the bad apples — Cognitive policy — Contested concepts everywhere — The technical is the political — Exploring the political brain — The problem of self-interest — The metaphors defining rational action — Why hawks win — The brain's language — Language in the new enlightenment — Afterword : what if it works? — Acknowledgments — Notes — Index.
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