Noam Chomsky Essays

Chomsky was attracted to Harvard in part because the philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine was based there. He had not been registered as a student at Pennsylvania for four years, but in 1955 he submitted a thesis setting out his ideas on transformational grammar; he was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree for it, and it was privately distributed among specialists on microfilm before being published in 1975 as part of The Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory.

On that trip they also spent six weeks in Israel at Hashomer Hatzair's Ha Zore'a kibbutz.

Ideologically, he aligns with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism.

Born to working-class Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants in Philadelphia, Chomsky developed an early interest in anarchism from alternative bookstores in New York City. During his postgraduate work in the Harvard Society of Fellows, Chomsky developed the theory of transformational grammar for which he earned his doctorate in 1955.

One of the most cited scholars alive, Chomsky has influenced a broad array of academic fields.

He is widely recognized as having helped to spark the cognitive revolution, a paradigm shift in the human sciences that established a new cognitivistic framework for the study of language and the mind.Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy and one of the founders of the field of cognitive science.He holds a joint appointment as Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and laureate professor at the University of Arizona, and is the author of more than 100 books on topics such as linguistics, war, politics, and mass media.Chomsky and his brother were raised Jewish, being taught Hebrew and regularly discussing the political theories of Zionism; the family was particularly influenced by the Left Zionist writings of Ahad Ha'am.Chomsky has described his parents as "normal Roosevelt Democrats" with center-left politics, but other relatives involved in the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union exposed him to socialism and far-left politics.He created or co-created the universal grammar theory, the generative grammar theory, the Chomsky hierarchy, and the minimalist program. While expanding his work in linguistics over subsequent decades, he also became involved in the linguistics wars. Herman, Chomsky later articulated the propaganda model of media criticism in Manufacturing Consent and worked to expose the Indonesian occupation of East Timor.Chomsky also played a pivotal role in the decline of behaviorism, and was particularly critical of the work of B. His defense of freedom of speech, including Holocaust denial, generated significant controversy in the Faurisson affair of the 1980s.The gross and ever-increasing degree of economic inequality in the United States has become a phenomenon that even the country’s elites can no longer ignore since the explosive publication of Thomas Piketty’s .The book’s highly technical marshaling of data speaks primarily to economists and secondarily to liberal policymakers.Piketty's calls for redistribution have lead to charges of “Marxism” from the other end of the political spectrum—due to some inevitable degree to the book's provocative title.Yet in the reckoning of actual Marxist Slavoj Žižek, the French economist is still “a good Keynsian” who believes that “capitalism is ultimately the only game in town.” While the Marxist left may critique Piketty’s policy recommendations for their reliance on state capitalism, another fierce leftist thinker---Žižek’s sometime intellectual rival Noam Chomsky---might critique them for their acquiescence to state power. Whether those policies come from nominally liberal or conservative administrations, Chomsky asserts time and again that they ultimately serve the needs of elites at the expense of masses of people at home and abroad who pay the very dear cost of perpetual wars over resources and markets.


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