Talk:Noam Chomsky

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 Definition American linguist, MIT professor and left-wing political activist. [d] [e]
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 Workgroup categories Linguistics and Politics [Editors asked to check categories]
 Subgroup category:  American politics since 1945
 Talk Archive none  English language variant American English


Larry's post specifically mentions this page, as it's got a picture, but I'm not sure the article itself is worth keeping in its present form. I'll give it a few days for objections before requesting a delete. John Stephenson 23:00, 8 April 2007 (CDT)

Done. John Stephenson 21:06, 11 April 2007 (CDT)
Put back the article checklist. John Stephenson 19:46, 15 April 2007 (CDT)

I found this picture on Flickr and uploaded it because it seemed to me to be a very nice picture of the person in question. In Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons you don't find a picture like this. I had no intention on working on the article, I was merely trying to help with a nice image. I thought someone would come along and write the article in little time, like it happened on Ann Coulter. So, if you feel like requesting the deletion, please do it. --José Leonardo Andrade 08:57, 10 April 2007 (CDT)

Why not wait longer for someone knowledgeable enough to develop the articl? Chomsky is far too important as a commentator on contemporary political control mechanisms to be dismissed by the easy device of deletion. -- Janos Abel 16:23, 15 June 2007 (CDT)

Political theorist?

Or notorious ideological activist? What are his qualifications as a political theorist? I will never forget the disruption to my own linguistics course at MIT by my professor, one of his protégés. He raged, "It's goin' down, man! The poor are gonna rise up in this city!" Thankfully, incidents were relatively isolated, and I did learn more about linguistics than ideology that semester. But when we did hear from Chomsky one day, he injected plenty of political ideology into his lecture about linguistics. <>< Tim Chambers 14:05, 7 April 2007 (CDT)

Why judge the man by one of his silly disciples who was obviously a simple minded Marxist revolutionary?
Why jump to a conclusion? I didn't interpret the protégé to be silly, but I certainly didn't find his arguments convincing. As for judging Chomsky, I don't care about him enough to judge him. I merely shared a couple of anecdotes. <>< Tim Chambers 01:34, 26 June 2007 (CDT)
It would be more useful to discuss Chomsky's exposé of the way social control is exercised by the power structure throught the intelligentsia functioning as gatekeepers. -- Janos Abel 16:28, 15 June 2007 (CDT)
Yes, political theorist. He constructed a rigorous model of a three tier sociopolitical control structure: The ruling groups use the intelligentsia of a society to influece the thinking and behaviour of the rest of the population.
...he probes the policies, testing for consistency and with reference to what he believes is good for humans. His politically ‘extreme’ conclusions are derived from his use of evidence created and supplied by those in power... Recognition of the nature of Chomsky’s thought is a proper prerequisite for the kind of discussion about the quality and value of his political analysis that the issues deserve, but at present is sadly lacking.(Alison Edgley)
Janos Abel 17:38, 24 June 2007 (CDT)
Ok, thanks for helping me understand his credentials. <>< Tim Chambers 01:34, 26 June 2007 (CDT)

External links

I removed a link to a review of Chomsky's What Uncle Sam Really Wants; it was just an academic home page giving an opinion, rather than something like an archive of papers by Chomsky and others, etc. John Stephenson 21:10, 30 May 2007 (CDT)

But Chomsky has taken numerous extreme political stances throughout his lifetime and become a very controversial public figure. As with his Wikipedia page(s), criticism of his views regarding the Khmer Rouge in the 1970's through his more recent support of Hezbollah are valid sources of information. Greg Lawrence 18:30, 2 June 2007 (CDT)
I still think it amounts to an opinion piece rather than a valid source of information, but now you've clearly indicated it as criticism with the title, I won't revert it. However, I think the controversies section needs softening. It is unwise for Citizendium to be taking sides by labelling Chomsky a "staunch supporter" of Hezbollah; for example, we should at least say that ideologically they have very little in common (I don't think he wants to see a 'Shia Palestine'). Better to just report his association with them, noting as well the wider context (his opposition to Israeli activities, etc.). John Stephenson 00:00, 3 June 2007 (CDT)

Removal of controversies section

Chomsky has expressed support for the Shia Islamic terrorist organization Hezbollah's[1] refusal to commit themselves to non-violent activities, stating in May 2006 during a visit to their headquarters in Beirut that arms "should be in the hands of Hezbollah as a deterrent to potential aggression."[2] Hezbollah is designated a terrorist organization by the United States, Canada, Israel, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Australia. Its three stated goals are to end Western imperialism in Lebanon, replace Lebanon's current government with an Islamic theocracy, and the complete destruction of the state of Israel.

A controversies section in this article is simply far too premature--especially when the section is longer than the man's actual biographical material! It gives a terribly undue weight and amounts to a huge bias in its effect. I think this article should become much more generally developed first. Besides, let me suggest that there is much better style in which to write of someone's non-mainstream political views than stringing together news reports in a controversies section Wikipedia-style!

Stephen Ewen 01:50, 3 June 2007 (CDT)

Thanks - I agree, but was trying to be diplomatic by not getting rid of it, merely softening it. John Stephenson 22:25, 3 June 2007 (CDT)

Linguistics section

Thanks to Dustin for writing this section. Some comments (from someone whose background is phonology rather than syntax):

  • If language cannot be adequately understood as being derived wholesale from experience, then at least some of it must be innate, and hence specific to and universal for humans. I think this sentence is potentially confusing, as it implies that this is exactly what Chomsky was arguing, i.e. that language must be biologically-based. However, I thought that he didn't explicitly state this, rather left it an open question, at least back in the 1950s and 1960s. This is a reason that critics have labelled him a "crypto-creationist". He was saying that it is not possible for language to emerge simply through exposure and experience, but he was vaguer over where language in the real world actually came from.
  • Competence as a mental construction is contrasted with performance, which Chomsky defines as the words that come out of a speaker's mouth. Performance includes all language use, not just words and speech, so this should be clarified.

I'll also add some stuff to the SPE section, and mention his interest in evolution. John Stephenson 08:39, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

Consider it done. I am pleased to know there are people to collaborate with.Dustin Bowers 19:58, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
The Linguistics Workgroup has been lonely of late... :) John Stephenson 03:13, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

uncritical admiration

In the anglo-american world it seems to be impossible to speak about Chomsky without either near-hatred or uncritical love. It is something I find very hard to understand.--Ralf Heinritz 17:47, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

As a computer scientist, I've actually read and appreciated his work in computational linguistics. From a political standpoint, however, he seems to have a fixed agenda and is immune to information outside it. Perhaps a factor is that his political criticism is principally directed at the Anglo-American world, in which I find him as biased as Glenn Beck but with somewhat less dramatics. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:57, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
A reason for the/my strong emotional reaction against Chomsky perhaps lies in his obvious intelligence. It just seems to make matters worse, if the person you do not agree with politically is an obvious genius in many respects.--Ralf Heinritz 20:11, 8 March 2010 (UTC)