What Kind of Creatures are We?

Author(s): Noam Chomsky

Words & Ideas

Noam Chomsky is widely known and deeply admired for being the founder of modern linguistics, one of the founders of the field of cognitive science, and perhaps the most avidly read political theorist and commentator of our time. In these lectures, he presents a lifetime of philosophical reflection on all three of these areas of research, to which he has contributed for over half a century.

In clear, precise, and nontechnical language, Chomsky elaborates on fifty years of scientific development in the study of language, sketching how his own work has implications for the origins of language, the close relations that language bears to thought, and its eventual biological basis. He expounds and criticizes many alternative theories, such as those that emphasize the social, the communicative, and the referential aspects of language. Chomsky reviews how new discoveries about language overcome what seemed to be highly problematic assumptions in the past. He also investigates the apparent scope and limits of human cognitive capacities and what the human mind can seriously investigate, in the light of history of science and philosophical reflection and current understanding. Moving from language and mind to society and politics, he concludes with a searching exploration and philosophical defense of a position he describes as "libertarian socialism," tracing its links to anarchism and the ideas of John Dewey and even to the ideas of Marx and Mill, demonstrating its conceptual growth out of our historical past and urgent relation to matters of the present.


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In clear, precise, and non-technical language, Chomsky elaborates on fifty years of scientific development in the study of language, sketching how his own work has implications for the origins of language, the close relations that language bears to thought, and its biological basis. Moving from language and mind to society and politics, he concludes with a philosophical defense of libertarian socialism.

Chomsky's writings invariably reflect the force of intellect and cogency of thought that befits one of the greatest thinkers of our times--this work is no exception. -- Robert May, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy & Linguistics, University of California, Davis

Noam Chomsky is professor emeritus of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has written and lectured widely on linguistics, philosophy, intellectual history, contemporary issues, international affairs, and U.S. foreign policy. He is the author of more than one hundred books.

Foreword1. What Is Language?2. What Can We Understand?3. What Is the Common Good?4. The Mysteries of Nature: How Deeply Hidden?NotesIndex

General Fields

  • : 9780231175968
  • : Columbia University Press
  • : Columbia University Press
  • : December 2015
  • : 178mm X 140mm
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 200
  • : Noam Chomsky
  • : Hardback
  • : 115
  • : English
  • : 401