Noam Chomsky

Jul 28, 2009
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Anyone read his books or watch his videos? I am not someone that fanatically takes one side of an argument or another, I manage to live a life where politics is nothing more than a peripheral near-irrelevance (drink my women and shag my beer etc).

First thing that strikes me about Chomsky is that he isn't boring. Wtf? Secondly he makes no wild unsupported claims. He tries to eastablish a rationale for clear definitions then proceeds from there. It's small wonder his books are prohibited from being advertised in the "land of the free" and that extends to virtually all publishing houses refusing to print the books of a very respected scholar (MIT Linguistics Professor, about as distinguished as you can possibly get :D).

I guess the way the printers blank him is kind of like how the peleton ostracises ex-dopers who come clean and spill their guts about everything. With Chomsky it seems if you can't ridicule or argue with him, then just perform "damage limitation" i.e. make sure as few people as possible have heard of him and buy his books. If you have no comeback, just try to shut him up instead.

I like the way how he stands alone. In one breath he may list acts of terrorism committed by Goverments in the west, then at the same time point out those who are ostensibly against these secret wars but in truth are just making money out of being "the voice of conscience" and thereby alienating what you might call a "natural ally". Total integrity and nothing but the truth, something so shockingly rare in intellectuals.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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One of the greater 'activist intellectuals/professors'. Founding father of contemporary linguistics. He is philosophical and comprehensible at the same time, quite an extraordinary combination. His linguistic background - imo - has rendered him capable of analysing 'the debates' better than many a sociologist or political scientis ever have done before. It has enabled him to support his opinions argumentatively, based on the rules of logic.

He will surely go down as one of the greatest american thinkers of all times, perhaps not far behind Rorty.
 
Jul 29, 2009
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Chomsky is "perhaps not far behind Rorty" as a thinker -- you must be joking! Rorty is to Chomsky as Tyler Hamilton is to Eddy Merckx. Chomsky completely revolutionized linguistics; Rorty is a philosopher who's not especially influential in philosophy, though folks in other disciplines -- typically with very limited knowledge of and expertise in philosophy -- seem to like him. And the idea that no serious publishers will publish Chomsky's work -- in linguistics or politics -- is just false (MIT, Cambridge, Columbia published the stuff on my shelf).
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Glaucon said:
Chomsky is "perhaps not far behind Rorty" as a thinker -- you must be joking! Rorty is to Chomsky as Tyler Hamilton is to Eddy Merckx. Chomsky completely revolutionized linguistics; Rorty is a philosopher who's not especially influential in philosophy, though folks in other disciplines -- typically with very limited knowledge of and expertise in philosophy -- seem to like him. And the idea that no serious publishers will publish Chomsky's work -- in linguistics or politics -- is just false (MIT, Cambridge, Columbia published the stuff on my shelf).
I think the concept of thinker - the way I intended its meaning - has got lost in translation. I refered to thinker in a perhaps too narrow sense, namely philosopher. Since Chomsky was 'merely a revolutionary linguist', who expanded his field of analysis to include more philosophically inspired themes, I believe he has actually managed to secure a position in a field he never belonged to; American thinkers or philosophers. To place him behind Rorty, is thus not a disqualification.

It's like saying that Jalabert was actually quite a good GC rider.

Further, to say that Rorty was not especially influential in the field of philosophy is only true if we take 3000 years of global philosophy into account. However, as an American philosopher, he was one of the most influential in the 20th century. (Quine, Kuhn, Rawls, Putnam, Dworkin, Searle, and certainly Rorty)
 
Jul 28, 2009
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Glaucon said:
And the idea that no serious publishers will publish Chomsky's work -- in linguistics or politics -- is just false
Nice rage there, perhaps you'd like to call everyone here a c**t while you're at it? Thanks for pointing out his own university publishes his work duh :rolleyes:

Major publishing houses will not publish his work, major newspapers will not review it. You are hereby ignored you rage filled teen.
 
Aug 4, 2009
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Chomsky's books on linguistics are harder to read than a UCI technical guide. The only person I know who claims to have read and understood New Horizons on Language and the Mind is a professor of linguistics and I think she is lying about the last bit.
 

jorgea

BANNED
Dec 15, 2011
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Feb 28, 2014
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Glaucon said:
Chomsky is "perhaps not far behind Rorty" as a thinker -- you must be joking! Rorty is to Chomsky as Tyler Hamilton is to Eddy Merckx. Chomsky completely revolutionized linguistics; Rorty is a philosopher who's not especially influential in philosophy, though folks in other disciplines -- typically with very limited knowledge of and expertise in philosophy -- seem to like him. And the idea that no serious publishers will publish Chomsky's work -- in linguistics or politics -- is just false (MIT, Cambridge, Columbia published the stuff on my shelf).
I just had to call BS on this. I love both guys and found Rorty prior to Chomsky. I professionally studied some of Rorty's work (mainly Contingency Irony and Solidarity) in which his views on language and subtlety are more revelatory than Chomsky--and Chomsky is all about language!

Take for example Rorty says language is dependent on human existence (which Chomsky agrees) and that truth value can only be assigned to sentences, which only come from a human. He tries to define a new liberal ironist narrative to move forward beyond Truth (Truth as Power or ideology) and realize we have no noncircular justifications why we shouldn't harm people but god damn it we shouldn't harm people anyway!...is basically how it went. I think you just haven't given Rorty time, you really need to read him as he fits into this challenge on fundamental notions that are pre-requisites for understanding our freedom and reality. Gotta pick up Contingency, Irony and Solidarity and read the first 10 pages and have your mind blown.

Not to mention Rorty's seminal work on "Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature" was profoundly challenging to Western Philosophical tradition surpassing Quine and Heidegger for erudite explication.
 
Back on topic. Noam Chomski quotes:

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/n/noam_chomsky.html

“The war against working people should be understood to be a real war…. Specifically in the U.S., which happens to have a highly class-conscious business class…. And they have long seen themselves as fighting a bitter class war, except they don’t want anybody else to know about it.”


“Neoliberal democracy. Instead of citizens, it produces consumers. Instead of communities, it produces shopping malls. The net result is an atomized society of disengaged individuals who feel demoralized and socially powerless.

In sum, neoliberalism is the immediate and foremost enemy of genuine participatory democracy, not just in the United States but across the planet, and will be for the foreseeable future.”


“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”
 
I read chomsky's take on the yugoslavia crisis and the hypocrisy surrounding the "new military humanism" when I was in my teens in the 90s. It was timely, unfortunately it might become timely again (Ukraine, anyone?) and the empirical-journalistic analysis he presents is to the point (compare to post-whatever academics...). Have respected his views ever since.

What I like the most about chomsky's theoretical work is his suspicion towards 20th century continental thought. All too often comp-lit spells complicit.
 
Discovered Chomsky at uni because I had to study his generative grammar and was fascinated by it (even though it's a bit outdated now).

Oiur professor told us that he was not just a linguist but also a political activist.

Oddly enough Chomsky converted me to some sort of a right-wing stance. I was convinced by his analysis of the Vietnam War, which was to prevent Vietnam from any "independent" development.

It suggested to be that nations and borders DO exist and that independence is their destiny.

Also he influenced me in thinking that Democrats and Republicans are the same (today it's a trivial thing to say but ten years ago, for a 20 year old guy, it was not so obvious).

Gradually I took my distance from him but do not disown him.
 
Echoes said:
Oddly enough Chomsky converted me to some sort of a right-wing stance. I was convinced by his analysis of the Vietnam War, which was to prevent Vietnam from any "independent" development.
this is interesting, since reading 1984 and animal farm by orwell did the same to me, though the result was quite the opposite. against the odds, I was convinced that what he in fact intended to posit as a stalinist dystopia was a rather good if of course exacerbated depiction of the empirical reality of late capitalism in the 1990s. so I gradually became what one could mockingly call a commie. granted, my conclusion was too hasty, but what could you expect from a kiddo.

I too started from linguistics, and gradually took up political economy and poli sci. thanks to unca adam's, chomsky's, hudson's and ole charlie's works I am convinced that I was correct about our reality and orwell back then.

for some reason, chomsky was loathed at our depatment. I think there are some sound aspect to his genrative grammar, however.
 
meat puppet said:
this is interesting, since reading 1984 and animal farm by orwell did the same to me, though the result was quite the opposite. against the odds, I was convinced that what he in fact intended to posit as a stalinist dystopia was a rather good if of course exacerbated depiction of the empirical reality of late capitalism in the 1990s. so I gradually became what one could mockingly call a commie. granted, my conclusion was too hasty, but what could you expect from a kiddo.

I too started from linguistics, and gradually took up political economy and poli sci. thanks to unca adam's, chomsky's, hudson's and ole charlie's works I am convinced that I was correct about our reality and orwell back then.

for some reason, chomsky was loathed at our depatment
. I think there are some sound aspect to his genrative grammar, however.
This is probably because Chomsky brings into the picture an objectivity that's disdained by ideologues, because it renders their doctrines for what they are: self-serving.
 
It's going to take this country (the USA that is) probably a century to catch up to him. He's so often derided, both in academic and political circles, the latter because people can't comprehend him, and aren't patient enough to listen to him, so he's just derided as a neoliberal socialist, though a few just pigeonhole him as a libertarian of some sort as well.

Not a lot of room in our blogosphere ADHD society for people like Chomsky it seems.
 
rhubroma said:
This is probably because Chomsky brings into the picture an objectivity that's disdained by ideologues, because it renders their doctrines for what they are: self-serving.
indeed. also, chomsky had been popular there during the 70/80s, so, per academic fashion tashion, guess he was passé or something.

gotta admit though that I am not that familiar with his ideas about how to re-structure the economy both, erm, economically and decision-making-wise. I'd guess he is not a fan of laissez faire but somewhat in the camp of Parecon or so, but I could be wrong about this plain and simple.

any reading suggestions?
 
He is a social libertarian isn't he?
An awfully smart man, but he is starting to get old I am afraid, and as quite a few has said before me, his biggest problem has allways seemed to be a somewhat lack of understanding when it comes to economic thought. His writings about Vietnam was rather brilliant though.
 
meat puppet said:
indeed. also, chomsky had been popular there during the 70/80s, so, per academic fashion tashion, guess he was passé or something.

gotta admit though that I am not that familiar with his ideas about how to re-structure the economy both, erm, economically and decision-making-wise. I'd guess he is not a fan of laissez faire but somewhat in the camp of Parecon or so, but I could be wrong about this plain and simple.

any reading suggestions?
Apart from my everyday observations, experiences and reading of current events, I'm a layman in his field; whereas my specialty lies in semiotics and aesthetics.

At any rate in the following link Chomsky briefly alludes to what type of future society would be appealing, without articulating it further.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVoJMtbgNSw
 
I came to know him as a linguist. I despise him as such.

He has been forced to tone down his mantra of Universal Grammar to a point where the term has pretty much been rendered meaningless. Inasmuch as it is true, it is irrelevant. Inasmuch as it is relevant, it is false.

He shouldn't have shunned the weak form of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. It's stood the test of time much better than Chomskyan linguistics.
 
Sep 20, 2011
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Vino attacks everyone said:
Yes, perhpas. He is much more in line with the european libertarian movement, than the American 1 atleast :p
I don't know much about the European libertarian movement (isn't the biggest 'libertarian' movement here the anarchist movement?) but yeah, terminology is always open for debate. In the US a liberal is more or less considered to be left-wing, whereas being a liberal here is almost a synonym for neo-liberalism, thus right-wing.
 

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