Study Questions for Lakoff, The Political Mind, Chapter 3

Prepared by Dr. Jan Garrett

Last modification date: July 27, 2009

1. What sorts of puzzles led Lakoff and his colleagues to the study of family values? (75-76)

2. With what unconscious metaphor do we all think about national politics and policy? Evidence? (76)

3. What two versions of the family emerged as Lakoff tried to discover the way we think about national politics? (77)

4. What is a common misunderstanding about what Lakoff is doing here? (77)

5. Describe the Strict Father Family model in terms of: the parent, his function, what the outside world is assumed to be like, gender relationships in the family, what the children are like, how they must be treated, how they can mature, what they will be like as adults and what they will do, the roles of authority, discipline, winning and losing. (78)

6. Why is conservativism concerned with authority? (78)

7. Relate the SF model to the conservative position on "gay rights" and on abortion. (78-77) On the need for clear moral boundaries? (79) The significant role of thinking in terms of essences? (79)

8. What is assumed about merit in the SF family and the SF model of society? What role does competition play in the SF perspective? (79) How does this explain the SF approach to education? (80)

9. Why are fundamentalist Christians generally conservative? (80) Why is James Dobson an example of the SF model? (80)

10. Relate this to the government's treatment of wounded veterans during a recent conservative administration. (81)

11. Describe the Nurturant Parent Family model in terms of: the parents, their functions, how family members should relate to the outside world, gender relationships in the family, what the children are like, how they must be treated, the preferred response to wrongdoing, how they can mature, what they will be like as adults and what they will do, the roles of empathy, protection, empowerment, and community. (81)

12. Why is this model gender neutral? (81)

13. Are all conservatives literal strict fathers? All progressives literal nurturant parents? (82)

14. How are (conceptual) metaphors related to language?(82) Roughly with how many metaphors do we talk and think? (83) What are complex metaphors? Primary (sometimes called simple) metaphors?

15. When do they arise and how? What process is labeled by the term "neural recruitment"? (83-84) Why does L say that metaphorical thought is physical (even though it may not be directly about something physical)? (84)

16. Why does neural activation in metaphorical thought have a direction? (84) What does "neural mapping" mean?

17. What is the physical process behind creation of complex metaphors? (84-85)

18. How does Lakoff define "an institution"? Of what does governing consist? Where does our first experience of institutions and governance occur? What primary metaphor is generated out of this fact? Why is this a significant metaphor? (85)

19. What political events exemplify thinking according to family moral models? (86)

20. Why do terms like "Father," "sisterhood" and "brothers" get applied to religious and military contexts? (87)

21. Is every element of the source concept in a metaphor (e.g., family) necessarily mapped onto the target concept (e.g., nation)? Explain. (87-88)

22. What two mistakes are often made about the operation of conceptual metaphor and the theory of family moral models? (88-89)

23. Is it possible to deliberately make metaphors real within cooperative groups? How was this illustrated by the establishment of a civil service system in the U.S.? by the Reinventing Government movement? What limits did the latter meet? (89-90)

24. What change occurred in the Bush II administration? (90) What has happened to government capacities as a result? Will this result be easy to reverse, in Lakoff's opinion? Is he right? (90-91)