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A UC Berkeley professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics who has done work on the nature of human conceptual systems. He has a Ph.D. from Indiana University and sat on the board of the National Endowement for the Arts. His research focuses on how basic metaphors like GOOD IS UP and FUTURE IS UP work together to structure human understanding.

His best known work is Metaphors We Live By For an example of his metaphor theory at work, I quote from the book's first chapter:

  • Your claims are indefensible
  • He attacked every weak point of my argument.
  • His criticisms were right on target
  • I demolished his argument.
  • I've never won an argument with him.
  • You disagree? Okay, shoot!
  • ...
      It is important to see that we don't just talk about arguments in terms of war. We can actaully win or lose arguments. We see the person we are arguing with as an opponent. We attack his positions and we defend our own. We gain and loose ground. ... It is in this sense that the ARGUMENT IS WAR metaphor is one we live by in this culture; it structures the actions we perform while arguing. ... (In a culture where arguments are not seen as war, where no one wins or looses) people would view arguments differently, experience them differently, carry them out differently, and talk about them differently. But we would probably not view them as arguing at all. "

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