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Pinker on Lakoff

Gene Expression
By Razib Khan
Oct 3, 2006 7:18 AMNov 5, 2019 12:23 AM


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Steven Pinker has a piece where he slams George Lakoff in The New Republic. Unfortunately like much of the best stuff in TNR this is behind a pay wall, though The American Scene has posted a snip. Chris has a lot of Lakoff criticism over at his old blog, and as a political liberal himself I hope that insulates him from the charge that he is biased in some way. I actually read Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think

back in the late 1990s, and remember thinking a lot "where does this dude get off telling me what I think!" I was a more strident libertarian back then and I wasn't too happy about all the generalizations Lakoff made. Today I tend to have more respect for non-intuitive findings from cognitive science than I did back then, but, if Chris is right Lakoff doesn't really practice mainstream cognitive science anyhow, and his tendency toward introspection isn't really the sort of process which is insulated from criticism derived from common sense and personal intuition.

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