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User Review  - kant1066 - LibraryThing

I was drawn to this book mostly because I knew of the author’s reputation as a cognitive scientist and as someone who was known for spelling out how cognitive science overlaps with, and largely ... Read full review

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The first few chapters are a bit dry and technical as the author sets up his premises and explains his terminology. I feel like he has a strong point, but on occasion his hard-left personal leanings seem to overpower his objectivity. He constantly makes positive references towards progressivism (which he defines as being based on the idea of empathy for, and "protection"/"empowerment" of individuals) and negative ones towards conservatism (which he defines as being unempathetic, structure based, and authoritarian).
One example of where his bias shows up is when he uses the issue of abortion to demonstrate progressive vs conservative thinking. In a nutshell:
Progressives, he contends, view the issue as one of empathy for the woman with an unplanned pregnancy, protection of her right to "control her own body", and empowerment of the rights of the woman.
On the other hand, conservatives treat the unplanned pregnancy as an issue of "punishment" for immoral behavior on the part of the woman. (He refers to this as the "strict father" school of morality.)
His tone and language make it clear that he feels the progressive "framing" of the issue is correct and to be embraced while the "conservative" framing is to be ridiculed and rejected as an evil thing.
However, he completely misses the idea that a conservative on the issue of abortion could be framing his pro-life position in the SAME WAY as the progressive: empathy (for the pre-born baby), and protection/empowerment of ITS rights (primarily that to not be summarily killed by its own mother).
Furthermore, is blanket dismissal of any idea of responsibility on the mother's part as "strict father" thinking plays right into the charge of the "irresponsible left".
There are other examples in the book of that sort of barely beneath the surface bias.
Nevertheless, Lakoff's book is well written and makes a clear case in general. I enjoyed it and I think the Left would do well to embrace his thoughts on how to more effectively frame it's arguments in a persuasive manner.
 

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