George P. Lakoff

Professor of the Graduate School

Picture of George P. Lakoff
Cognitive linguistics, especially the neural theory of thought and language. Conceptual systems, conceptual metaphor, grammar and meaning. The application of cognitive and neural linguistics to politics, literature, psychology, philosophy and mathematics
SB in Mathematics and English Literature, MIT, 1962. PhD in LInguistics, INdiana UNiversity, 1966.

Contact Information

Office Hours: Tuesday, Thursday Times change each semester
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Personal Statement

His current research covers many areas of Conceptual Analysis within Cognitive Linguistics: (i) The nature of human conceptual systems, especially metaphor systems for concepts such as time, events, causation, emotions, morality, the self, politics, etc. This also includes the study of such systems in other languages and their manifestations in linguistic form; (ii) The development of Cognitive Social Science, which applies ideas of Cognitive Semantics to the Social Sciences. It includes practical applications of cognitive linguistics to help social advocates reframe social and political issues; (iii) The implications of Cognitive Science for Philosophy, in collaboration with Mark Johnson, Chair of Philosophy at the University of Oregon; (iv) The cognitive structure, especially the metaphorical structure, of mathematics, in collaboration with Rafael Núñez of UC San Diego, Department of Cognitive Science; (v) Neural foundations of conceptual systems and language, in collaboration with Jerome Feldman, of the International Computer Science Institute, seeking to develop biologically-motivated structured connectionist systems to model both the learning of conceptual systems and their neural representations. This includes the development of a neural theory of grammar — embodied construction grammar — which precisely characterizes grammars in a notation suitable for both reduction to structured connectionist models and use in natural language processing.

Selected publications

Metaphors We Live By (with Mark Johnson) University of Chicago Press. 1980.

Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things. University of Chicago Press. 1987.

More Than Cool Reason. (with Mark Turner) University of Chicago Press. 1989.

Moral Politics. University of Chicago Press. 1996; second edition 2002.

Philosophy In The Flesh. Basic Books, 1999.

Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being. (with Rafael Núñez). Basic Books. 2000.

Don't Think of an Elephant! Chelsea Green. 2004.

Thinking Points (with the Rockridge Institute) 2005. Farrar Strauss Giroux.

Whose Freedom?  2006. Farrar Strauss Giroux.

The Political Mind. 2008. Viking/Penguin

The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic. 2012. Simon and Schuster

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