By Noam Chomsky, written following his trip to the Gaza Strip on October 25-30, 2012.
(Ashraf Amra / APA Images)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Boston Review article, What We Know (Summer, 2005): "The most productive way to approach the problem [...] is within the framework of what has been called "the biolinguistic perspective," an approach to language that treats the capacity to acquire and use language as an aspect of human biology. This approach began to take shape in the early 1950s, much influenced by recent developments in mathematics and biology, and interacted productively with a more general shift of perspective in the study of mental faculties, commonly called "the cognitive revolution." It would be more accurate, I think, to describe it as a second cognitive revolution, reviving and extending important insights and contributions of the cognitive revolution of the 17th and 18th centuries, which had regrettably been forgotten, and --despite some interesting historical research on rationalist and Romantic theories of language and mind-- are still little known."
Left Business Observer audio interview, On the State of Things, with Doug Henwood (February 10, 2005): "[The Iraqi election] was a very significant occasion. The crucial fact is that the US, and of course Britain, had to be brought kicking and screaming into accepting elections. The US initially insisted that it write the constitution, that it provide the legal system. When there was resistance on the part of Iraqis -I don't mean insurgents, I just mean non-violent resistance-, they had to back down. They then tried to impose a kind of a caucus system, that they could control: once again they had to back down. Finally, they had to agree to elections, very reluctantly. It's a real triumph of non-violent resistance in my opinion."
Radioactive San Diego audio interview, On the US elections, Strategies for Radicals and the Independent Media Movement, with DJ Lotus and DJette Aporetics (Novermber 23, 2004): "The question of fraud, though it may exist, is pretty marginal. There's something much more important about the election, namely, that virtually the entire population was excluded. And we know this very well. Public opinion in the United States is studied very carefully, and we have a huge amount of data. The most prestigious institutions that monitor public opinion came out with extensive studies related to the election. Right before the election, this October. They were scarcely reported, almost not at all. And they are very interesting: they tell you a lot about the election. In fact, what they tell you in effect is that the election didn't take place." [interview begins at 2:41]
Emerson College video talk, Propaganda and War: Iraq and Beyond (November 24, 2003): "The title 'Iraq and Beyond' makes good deal of sense: we should be thinking about the future and what we can do to direct it in some favorable course. However, the word 'beyond' does open a sort of trap that we should be aware of, and it's particularly striking in the United States: there is a deep, rooted feature of US intellectual culture that one should be aware of. It's sometimes called 'the doctrine of change of course'. This doctrine is invoked every two or three years; we've just seen a remarkable invocation of it two weeks ago. The doctrine says, "Well, yes, in the past we did various unpleasant things out of inadvertence or inattention, but now we are changing course, so we can put all that stale boring stuff behind us, forget about it, forget the fact that we suppressed it or denied it when it was taking placing, and march on to a glorious future." [Chomsky's talk begins at 9:19]
Essays on Herman and Chomsky's Propaganda Model Edited by Jeffery Klaehn
Human Nature and Moral Values, excerpted from Understanding Power (New York, 2002), pp. 355-362.
Putnam's Reply to Chomsky's Comments, in Language and Learning (Cambridge, Mass., 1980), 359-360.
Chomsky's Discussion of Putnam's Comments, in Language and Learning (Cambridge, Mass., 1980), 349-358.
Article on Chomsky from Language and Learning (Cambridge, Mass., 1980), What Is Innate and Why, by Hilary Putnam, 339-348.
The US in the World, excerpted from Power and Terror (New York, 2003), pp. 119-122.
War and Conquest, excerpted from Rogue States (Cambridge, Mass., 2002), pp. 156-162.
Chomsky on Anarchism Edited by Barry Pateman
Chomsky's reply to Millikan, in Chomsky and His Critics (Blackwell, 2003).
Article on Chomsky from Chomsky and His Critics (Blackwell, 2003), In Defense of Public Language, by Ruth Garrett Millikan.
Concepts of Language, excerpted from Knowledge of Language (New York, 1986), pp. 15-50.
Knowledge of Language as a Focus of Inquiry, excerpted from Knowledge of Language (New York, 1986), pp. 1-14.
Preface, excerpted from Knowledge of Language (New York, 1986), pp. xxv-xxix.
The Function of the University in a Time of Crisis, excerpted from For Reasons of State (New York, 1972), pp. 298-317.
Canada's Media, excerpted from Understanding Power (New York, 2002), pp. 288-291.
Brainwashing and Watergate, excerpted from Understanding Power (New York, 2002), pp. 111-120.
Spectator Sports, excerpted from Understanding Power (New York, 2002), pp. 98-101.
The Propaganda Model, excerpted from Understanding Power (New York, 2002), pp. 10-31.
The Media, excerpted from The Common Good (Tucson, 1998), pp. 41-53.
Comity interview, The Media as a Mirror of Society, with Brian Jacobs (October 21, 1984), pp. 423-426.
'How Language Works' [1, 2], by Steven Pinker, excerpted from The Language Instinct (New York, 1994), pp. 83-125.
MTA, Budapest talk, Biolinguistics and the Human Capacity (May 17, 2004): "I would like to say a few words about what has come to be called 'the biolinguistic perspective,' which began to take shape half a century ago in discussions among a few graduate students who were much influenced by developments in biology and mathematics in the early postwar years, including work in ethology that was just coming to be known in the United States. One of them was Eric Lenneberg, whose seminal 1967 study Biological Foundations of Language remains a basic document of the field. By then considerable interchange was proceeding, including interdisciplinary seminars and international conferences. The most far-reaching one, in 1974 was called, for the first time, 'Biolinguistics.' Many of the leading questions discussed there remain very much alive today."
University of Bologna video talk, on language and freedom (April 1, 2005): "This is the kind of occasion that naturally leads one to think back over guiding issues of concern. In my personal case, that involves two almost parallel paths --almost parallel because they do converge short of infinity, although exactly how they converge is far from clear. One path seeks to understand more about language and mind; the other is guided by concerns for freedom and justice, and --regrettably-- human survival, not an ideal concern in our era. There should be some shared elements, in particular what the co-founder of modern evolutionary theory, Alfred Russell Wallace, called 'man's intellectual and moral nature,' the human capacity for creative imagination, language and symbolism generally, interpretation and recording of natural phenomena, intricate social practices and the like: a complex of capacities that seems to have crystallized fairly recently among a small group in East Africa of which we are all descendants. The archaeological record suggests that the crystallization was so sudden in evolutionary times that some eminent scientists call the even 'the great leap forward'. There is a long and interesting history of thought about possible links between these domains, but they remain speculative and poorly understood."
Chomsky's reply to Lycan, in Chomsky and His Critics (Blackwell, 2003).
Article on Chomsky from Chomsky and His Critics (Blackwell, 2003), Chomsky on the Mind-Body Problem, by William G. Lycan.
Columbia University Press has just released a new edition of Noam Chomsky's Rules and Representations, with a revision of the original text, two new essays, and a foreword by Norbert Hornstein.
Khaleej Times article, The Social Security Non-Crisis (June 1, 2005): "In the debate over Social Security, US President Bush's handlers have already won, at least in the short term. Bush and Karl Rove, his deputy chief of staff, have succeeded in convincing most of the US population that there is a serious problem with Social Security, which opens the way for considering the administration's programme of private accounts instead of relying on the public pension system."