George Lakoff Quotes

Enjoy the top 52 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by George Lakoff.

George Lakoff Quotes

When we use such metaphorically derived inference patterns to reason about morality, the principles we get and use are inextricably tied up with ends, goals, and purposes. In such cases, therefore, the deontological picture of ethical deliberation just doesnt fit.
The deontologist will no doubt respond by insisting that we can keep morality (as a source of moral principles) entirely separate from other domains (such as well-being) whenever we are reasoning about morals. This view entails that learning morality is just learning preexisting patterns of moral reasoning and learning how to apply them to concrete cases.
However, it is important to see that this is an empirical issue about the nature of human reasoning, and it cannot be decided a priori.
— George Lakoff —

Metaphysics in philosophy is, of course, supposed to characterize what is real - literally real. The irony is that such a conception of the real depends upon unconscious metaphors.

— George Lakoff

The problem with classical disembodied scientific realism is that it takes two intertwined and inseparable dimensions of all experience - the awareness of the experiencing organism and the stable entities and structures it encounters - and erects them as separate and distinct entities called subjects and objects. What disembodied realism ... misses is that, as embodied, imaginative creatures, we never were separated or divorced from reality in the first place. What has always made science possible is our embodiment, not our transcendence of it, and our imagination, not our avoidance of it.

— George Lakoff

We categorize as we do because we have the brains and bodies we have and because we interact in the world as we do.

— George Lakoff

Metaphor is thus imaginative rationality.

— George Lakoff

Since most of our moral understanding comes, via metaphor, from a broad range of other domains of experience, and since we apply those metaphors to a number of different experiential domains, we should be wary of trying to compartmentalize ethics. The cross-domain mappings of the metaphors suggest the intricate web of connections that impose our moral ideas on other aspects of our lives, including considerations that are technical, scientific, political, aesthetic, religious, and social.

— George Lakoff

For real human beings, the only realism is an embodied realism.

— George Lakoff

At the highest level, there is the general Subject-Self metaphor, which conceptualizes a person as bifurcated. The exact nature of this bifurcation is specified more precisely one level down, where there are five specific instances of the metaphor. These five special cases of the basic Subject-Self metaphor are grounded in four types of everyday experience: (1) manipulating objects, (2) being located in space, (3) entering into social relations, and (4) empathic projection-conceptually projecting yourself onto someone else, as when a child imitates a parent. The fifth special case comes from the Folk Theory of Essences: Each person is seen as having an Essence that is part of the Subject. The person may have more than one Self, but only one of those Selves is compatible with that Essence. This is called the "real" or "true" Self.

— George Lakoff

Our categories arise from the fact that we are neural beings, from the nature of our bodily capacities, from our experience interacting in the world, and from our evolved capacity for basic-level categorization - a level at which we optimally interact with the world. Evolution has not required us to be as accurate above and below the basic level as at the basic level, and so we are not.

— George Lakoff

[P]hilosophical theories are structured by conceptual metaphors that constrain which inferences can be drawn within that philosophical theory. The (typically unconscious) conceptual metaphors that are constitutive of a philosophical theory have the causal effect of constraining how you can reason within that philosophical framework.

— George Lakoff

While it is not impossible to have a Nurturant Parent rationalist morality (perhaps certain versions of utilitarianism are of this sort), Reason is not typically understood as a nurturer. Reason commands, lays down the law, gives orders, judges, reprimands, and so on. We almost never conceive of it as nurturing, feeling, caring, and so forth.

— George Lakoff

If we are to know ourselves, philosophy needs to maintain an ongoing dialogue with the sciences of mind.

— George Lakoff

When we understand all that constitutes the cognitive unconscious, our understanding of the nature of consciousness is vastly enlarged. Consciousness goes way beyond mere awareness of something, beyond the mere experience of qualia, beyond the awareness that you are aware, and beyond the multiple takes on immediate experience provided by various centers of the brain. Consciousness certainly involves all of the above plus the immeasurably vaster constitutive framework provided by the cognitive unconscious, which must be operating for us to be aware of anything at all.

— George Lakoff

For centuries, we in the West have thought of ourselves as rational animals whose mental capacities transcend our bodily nature. In this traditional view our minds are abstract, logical, unemotionally rational, consciously accessible, and, above all, able to directly fit and represent the world. Language has a special place in thie view of what a human is - it is a privileged, logical symbol system internal to our minds that transparently expresses abstract concepts that are defined in terms of the external world itself.

— George Lakoff

In all aspects of life ... we define our reality in terms of metaphors and then proceed to act on the basis of the metaphors. We draw inferences, set goals, make commitments, and execute plans, all on the basis of how we in part structure our experience, consciously and unconsciously, by means of metaphor.

— George Lakoff

The essence of metaphor is understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another.

— George Lakoff

We know that someone who has channeled his anger into something constructive has not had a cow. How do we know these things?

— George Lakoff

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