Thursday, May 28, 2015

Noam Chomsky and John Searle on deconstructionists: Empty "Posturing"

"Noam Chomsky Slams Žižek and Lacan: Empty ‘Posturing’" (Open Culture, June 28, 2013):

Noam Chomsky’s well-known political views have tended to overshadow his groundbreaking work as a linguist and analytic philosopher. As a result, people sometimes assume that because Chomsky is a leftist, he would find common intellectual ground with the postmodernist philosophers of the European Left.

Big mistake.

[Hat tip to C.B.]


RFGA, Ph.D. said...

My Lunch with Noam. One morning in the early-1990s I was reading in the cafeteria at a local community college where I was teaching at the time. I looked up when a group faculty members entered the room and thought that I saw amongst them Professor Chomsky, one of my intellectual heroes. I said to myself, 'Naw, that can't be him, what the heck would he be doing here?' Overcome by curiosity, I went over and asked one of the profs what was going on and, sure enough, it turned out to none other than The Scourge of Capitalism. (He was there to give 2 lectures, one in the afternoon, the other at night.) The political science professor hosting the group then kindly invited me to join them for lunch. I sat down, introduced myself, and, when no one else at the table appeared willing to take advantage of the splendid intellectual opportunity before us (kinda like having Miguel Cabrera show up while you are in the batting cage) launched into my half-baked criticism of his theory of innate ideas. The man could not have been more engaging. I daresay he even seemed pleased to be debating philosophy instead of politics. We ended up walking together across campus on the way to his lecture, still going back and forth about innateness, a pleasant morning indeed.

Pertinacious Papist said...

Dr. Allen,

That's (as they say) AWESOME! I know less about the more recent Chomsky and a bit more about the earlier one who wrote some very compelling things about grammar and structural linguistics. He IS a very engaging writer. I cannot imagine how he must have been in person!

This isn't to say that either of us would embrace his leftist radicalism; but there's much to appreciate about the man and his legacy despite this.