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Noam Chomsky

From Wikipedia

Noam_chomsky_cropped

Avram Noam Chomsky (pronounced /noʊm ˈtʃɒmski/; born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist, philosopher,[2][3][4] cognitive scientist, political activist, author, and lecturer. He is an Institute Professor and professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[5] Chomsky is well known in the academic and scientific community as one of the fathers of modern linguistics.[6][7][8] Since the 1960s, he has become known more widely as a political dissident, an anarchist,[9] and a libertarian socialist intellectual.

In the 1950s, Chomsky began developing his theory of generative grammar, which has undergone numerous revisions and has had a profound influence on linguistics. His approach to the study of language emphasizes “an innate set of linguistic principles shared by all humans” known as universal grammar, “the initial state of the language learner,” and discovering an “account for linguistic variation via the most general possible mechanisms.”[10] He also established the Chomsky hierarchy, a classification of formal languages in terms of their generative power. In 1959, Chomsky published a widely influential review of B. F. Skinner‘s theoretical book Verbal Behavior, which was the first attempt by a behaviorist to provide a functional, operant analysis of language. Chomsky used this review to broadly and aggressively challenge the behaviorist approaches to studies of behavior dominant at the time, and contributed to the cognitive revolution in psychology. His naturalistic[11] approach to the study of language has influenced the philosophy of language and mind.[10]

Randy Harris, author of The Linguistics Wars (1995), has described him as “a hero of Homeric proportions, belonging solidly in the pantheon of our country’s finest minds, with all the powers and qualities thereof. First, foremost, and initially he is staggeringly smart. The speed, scope, and synthetic abilities of his intellect are legendary. He is, too, a born leader, able to marshal support, fierce and uncompromising support, for positions he develops or adopts. Often, it seems, he shapes linguistics by sheer force of will.”[12]

Beginning with his opposition to the Vietnam War, Chomsky established himself as a prominent critic of US foreign and domestic policy. He is a self-declared adherent of libertarian socialism which he regards as “the proper and natural extension of classical liberalism into the era of advanced industrial society.”[13]

According to the Arts and Humanities Citation Index in 1992, Chomsky was cited as a source more often than any other living scholar during the 1980–92 period, and was the eighth most-cited source.[14][15][16] He is also considered a prominent cultural figure.[17] At the same time, his status as a leading critic of US foreign policy has made him controversial.[18]

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One Response to “Noam Chomsky”

  1. […] Language is the foundation of the cognitive entity entitled perception whose purpose is to interpret the environment surrounding the organism in order to improve the probabilities of a succesful life for all organisms of the universe, one of whom is the human being whose mechanism of interpretation which is a sub-entity to perception is telling her what is believed to be going on out there and what is not going on out there […]


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