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Mysterian

Jackson Lears: On Chomsky, 3 May 2017

Why Only Us: Language and Evolution 
by Robert Berwick and Noam Chomsky.
MIT, 215 pp., £18.95, February 2016, 978 0 262 03424 1
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Because We Say So 
by Noam Chomsky.
Penguin, 199 pp., £9.99, August 2016, 978 0 241 97248 9
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What Kind of Creatures Are We? 
by Noam Chomsky.
Columbia, 167 pp., £17, January 2016, 978 0 231 17596 8
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Who Rules the World? 
by Noam Chomsky.
Hamish Hamilton, 307 pp., £18.99, May 2016, 978 0 241 18943 6
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ChomskyIdeas and Ideals 
by Neil Smith and Nicholas Allott.
Cambridge, 461 pp., £18.99, January 2016, 978 1 107 44267 2
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... In​ 1971, Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault faced off on Dutch television, or at least that’s what their host, Fons Elders, kept prodding them to do. They were discussing the idea of human nature, and though Elders knew they shared a left libertarian politics, he assumed they would have philosophical disagreements, that Chomsky would defend the idea of an essential human nature, rooted in biology, and that Foucault would dismiss it as a mere social construction ...

Piaget v. Chomsky

Peter Bryant, 21 February 1980

Piaget 
by Margaret Boden.
Fontana, 174 pp., £1.25, September 1980, 0 00 635537 4
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Théories du Langage. Théories de l’Apprentissage. Le débat entre Jean Piaget et Noam Chomsky 
edited by Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini.
Seuil, 538 pp.
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... brought Piaget into head-on conflict with another equally famous structuralist, the linguist Noam Chomsky. Like Piaget, Chomsky thought that the Behaviourist account of intelligent behaviour in general, and of the acquisition of language in particular, was totally inadequate, but unlike Piaget he argued that there ...

A Narrow Band of Liberties

Glen Newey: Global order, 25 January 2001

Profit over People: Neo-Liberalism and Global Order 
by Noam Chomsky.
Seven Stories, 175 pp., £26, October 1998, 1 888363 82 7
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Acts of Aggression: Policing ‘Rogue’ States 
by Noam Chomsky and Ramsey Clark, edited by Edward Said.
Seven Stories, 62 pp., £4.99, May 1999, 1 58322 005 4
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The Umbrella of US Power: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Contradictions of US Policy 
by Noam Chomsky.
Seven Stories, 78 pp., £3.99, December 1998, 1 888363 85 1
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The New Military Humanism: Lessons from Kosovo 
by Noam Chomsky.
Pluto, 199 pp., £30, November 1999, 0 7453 1633 6
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... as moralism. Some truisms can’t be reiterated often enough, and we have anarchists like Noam Chomsky to thank for one of them: when the powerful talk of ‘liberation’, you can be sure that somewhere, in a state near you, odd-jobmen and peasants in uniform are clapping on the cangue and bilboes. Under what global dispensation could the abuse ...

Short Cuts

Glen Newey: Murdoch, 28 July 2011

... their power by a code of omertà that buries news of their own felonies. It’s also that, as Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman pointed out long ago, the attempt to reach the ‘demographic’ sought by the advertisers who form the media’s staple revenue base means that content – including ‘news’ – is skewed towards the ...

Diary

Sylvia Lawson: In Sydney, 8 April 1993

... In Manufacturing Consent, the brilliant Canadian documentary about Noam Chomsky and the American media, one troubled citizen asks the literal hero whether he thinks there might come a day when ‘we could again be proud of our country’. He answers: ‘It depends what you mean by your country.’ Quite. No nationalist, I am tempted today to feel proud of my country; but by that I mean the 50-plus per cent of it which, on 13 March, delivered a magnificently thunderous No to the Thatcher-Reaganite dinosaurs and voted to hang on to what we’ve got of social democracy ...

Noddy is on page 248

Jay Griffiths: On the streets, 10 June 1999

The Penguin Book of 20th-Century Protest 
edited by Brian MacArthur.
Penguin, 440 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 670 87052 8
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DIY Culture: Party and Protest in Nineties Britain 
edited by George McKay.
Verso, 310 pp., £11, July 1998, 1 85984 260 7
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... Harris gets two entries compared to Germaine Greer’s one, Gandhi’s one, or Mandela’s one. Noam Chomsky: nil. E.P Thompson: nil. The Times columnist Bernard Levin: two. Levin deserves a special mention. In the Times in May 1996, he implied that Jerry, a Newbury road-protester, planned a firebombing campaign. I know Jerry. He was the victim not the ...

Use Your Illusions

Slavoj Žižek: Obama’s Victory and the Financial Meltdown, 14 November 2008

... Noam Chomsky called for people to vote for Obama ‘without illusions’. I fully share Chomsky’s doubts about the real consequences of Obama’s victory: from a pragmatic perspective, it is quite possible that Obama will make only some minor improvements, turning out to be ‘Bush with a human face ...

It Got Eaten

Peter Godfrey-Smith: Fodor v. Darwin, 8 July 2010

What Darwin Got Wrong 
by Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini.
Profile, 262 pp., £20, February 2010, 978 1 84668 219 3
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... was extended to cover human language in Skinner’s 1957 book Verbal Behaviour. A young linguist, Noam Chomsky, published a review of Verbal Behaviour two years later. It was perhaps the most devastating book review ever written. Chomsky argued that Skinner’s theoretical vocabulary could be applied to human ...

Objections to Chomsky

Michael Dummett, 3 September 1981

Rules and Representations 
by Noam Chomsky.
Blackwell, 299 pp., £7.50, August 1980, 0 631 12641 4
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... same position in slightly different ways. Part I, in particular, is to a large extent polemical: Chomsky cites a great many criticisms of his work, and other expressions of views contrary to his own, and replies to them. The polemical mode of philosophical writing is not his forte. There are two worthwhile ways to write philosophical ...

Opportunities

David Gilmour, 1 June 1989

Prepared for the worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Chatto, 357 pp., £15.95, April 1989, 0 7011 3459 3
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... The Heroes section would include pieces on Tom Paine and Oscar Wilde, a passionate vindication of Noam Chomsky (‘among the few Americans of his generation to lay claim to the title of original thinker’) and a long, thoughtful portrait of Professor Shahak, the great Israeli human rights activist. There is a strikingly good article on Paul Scott’s ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: The Big Issue, 20 September 2001

... But there are funny bits and star turns too. Julie Burchill has been a contributor; so has Noam Chomsky. It hit the big time a while ago, with sought-after interviews with the Stone Roses and George Michael (‘breaking a six-year silence’). Guest editors have included Damien Hirst and David Bailey – Big Issue chic. The ads say ...

Short Cuts

Sara Roy: The silencing of US academics, 1 April 2004

... East Forum, a think-tank devoted to promoting American interests in the Middle East. ‘I want Noam Chomsky to be taught at universities about as much as I want Hitler’s writing or Stalin’s writing,’ Pipes said to an interviewer. ‘These are wild and extremist ideas that I believe have no place in a university.’ Not only does Campus Watch ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Project Nim’, ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ , 8 September 2011

Project Nim 
directed by James Marsh.
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Rise of the Planet of the Apes 
directed by Rupert Wyatt.
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... Oedipal eye. He was then taken away by a researcher at Columbia University who hoped to show that Noam Chomsky – hence our hero’s name – was wrong in his belief that only humans have the capacity to construct grammar as distinct from recognising nouns and verbs as labels. Nim made formidable progress in sign language and was domesticated in all ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: The Bourne Analogy, 30 June 2011

... high priest of metaphor studies, who emerged from MIT in the 1960s as a student and antagonist of Noam Chomsky and who by the 1980s led the new field of cognitive linguistics. Lakoff’s basic idea was that the ‘target’ of the metaphor, an abstract concept like democracy, is explained in terms of the ‘source’, a familiar physical object or ...

Wired for Sound

Daniel Dennett, 23 June 1994

The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language 
by Steven Pinker.
Allen Lane, 493 pp., £20, April 1994, 0 7139 9099 6
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Patterns in the Mind: Language and Human Nature 
by Ray Jackendoff.
Harvester, 256 pp., £11.95, October 1993, 9780745009629
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... to come into focus. And once that happened, linguistics was ready for its Newton, or its Einstein: Noam Chomsky. Building on the foundations provided by earlier logicians and linguists, Chomsky showed how the protean complexities of language could be analysed – along at least some of their dimensions – with ...

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