Metaphors We Live By (1984)
People use metaphors every time they speak. Some of those metaphors are literary – devices for making thoughts more vivid or entertaining. But most are much more basic than that – they’re “metaphors we live by”, metaphors we use without even realizing we’re using them. In this book, George Lakoff and Mark Johnson suggest that these basic metaphors not only affect the way we communicate ideas, but actually structure our perceptions and understandings from the beginning. Bringing together the perspectives of linguistics and philosophy, Lakoff and Johnson offer an intriguing and surprising guide to some of the most common metaphors and what they can tell us about the human mind.
More Than Cool Reason: A Field Guide to Poetic Metaphor (1989)
George Lakoff and Mark Turner explain how poems rely upon and extend the basic cognitive metaphors by which we make sense of the world.
Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things (1990)
Focusing on studies of how humans categorize objects and ideas, this classic cognitive science book examines the new understanding of human thought which proposes that human reason is imaginative, metaphorical, and intrinsically linked with the human body.
Download the chapter “Anger,” from this book.
Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought (1999)
This is philosophy as it has never been seen before. Lakoff and Johnson show that a philosophy responsible to the science of the mind offers a radically new and detailed understandings of what a person is. After first describing the philosophical stance that must follow from taking cognitive science seriously, they re-examine the basic concepts of the mind, time, causation, morality, and the self; then they rethink a host of philosophical traditions, from the classical Greeks through Kantian morality through modern analytical philosophy.
Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being (2001)
Renowned linguist George Lakoff pairs with psychologist Rafael Nuñez in the first book to provide a serious study of the cognitive science of mathematical ideas. This book is about mathematical ideas, about what mathematics means–and why. Abstract ideas, for the most part, arise via conceptual metaphor-metaphorical ideas projecting from the way we function in the everyday physical world. Where Mathematics Comes From argues that conceptual metaphor plays a central role in mathematical ideas within the cognitive unconscious-from arithmetic and algebra to sets and logic to infinity in all of its forms.
Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think (2002)
In this classic text, the first full-scale application of cognitive science to politics, George Lakoff analyzes the unconscious and rhetorical worldviews of liberals and conservatives, discovering radically different but remarkably consistent conceptions of morality on both the left and right. For this new edition, Lakoff adds a preface and an afterword extending his observations to major ideological conflicts since the book’s original publication, from the impeachment of Bill Clinton to the 2000 presidential election and its aftermath.
Don’t Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate (2004)
Author George Lakoff explains how conservatives think, and how to counter their arguments. He outlines in detail the traditional American values that progressives hold, but are often unable to articulate. Lakoff also breaks down the ways in which conservatives have framed the issues, and provides examples of how progressives can reframe them. Lakoff’s years of research and work with leading activists and policy makers have been distilled into this essential guide, which shows progressives how to think in terms of values instead of programs, and why people support policies which align with their values and identities, but which often run counter to their best interests. Click for a preview of the book.
Thinking Points: Communicating Our American Values and Vision (2006)
In Thinking Points, George Lakoff and the Rockridge Institute not only offer a deep understanding of the progressive worldview, but also reveal the nature of the so-called political center. They show why the most effective way to appeal to those who identify themselves as moderates is to remain true to core progressive values.
Download Thinking Points in its entirety
Whose Freedom? The Battle Over America’s Most Important Idea (2007)
“Freedom” is one of the most contested words in American political discourse. In Whose Freedom? The Battle Over America’s Most Important Idea, George Lakoff describes how the country is divided by two dramatically different worldviews, cognitive frames that determine how we think about economic policy, religion, science, foreign affairs—and freedom.
The Political Mind (2008)
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.