Saturday, March 25, 2006

On Chomsky...

I have to admit.

I am familiar with Chomsky's political and social views, but not as familiar as I am with his linguistic I needed the help of a book.

From a very broad, but useful reference to have around the house, I managed to find in words a general overview of how Chomsky's social/political theories mesh with those linguistic theories. I am in the midst of writing a paper, so I don't have time to go much deeper into it at the moment, but those folks at the Western Standard who were involved with this post seemed to have done less research than I did.

From Philosophy: 100 Essential Thinkers by P. Stokes (I know...not exactly an academic source, but all I've got at the moment)


"This hardwiring is, like other cognitive faculties, an aspect of our human nature. Chomsky sees this as having positive political implications. Rather than being the blank sheet of Lockean empiricism, or the unconstrained free agents of existentialism, our very nature prevents us from being subjugated by extreme and wayward forces. Our nature determines that there are only certain possible political systems that we can tolerate. Oppressive political systems...cannot completely mould our minds. Our thoughts are not, as the behavioural psychologists earlier in the twentieth century had supposed, merely conditiond responses to repeated stimuli. The concept of being a free agent is as hardwired into our nature as the constraints that act on our forms of speech.


He has been a constant critic of US foreign policy and of US involvement in Vietnam, Cambodia and the Gulf Wars. He remains an active supporter of radical social change in the US, as well as continuing his work as a linguist and theoretical philosopher. He describes his political view as 'libertarian socialist' - a blend of socialism and anarchism."


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