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Chomsky: Language, Mind and Politics

Overview

Noam Chomsky has made major contributions to three fields: political history and analysis, linguistics, and the philosophies of mind, language, and human nature. In this thoroughly revised and updated volume, James McGilvray provides a critical introduction to Chomsky's work in these three key areas and assesses their continuing importance and relevance for today.

In an incisive and comprehensive analysis, McGilvray argues that Chomsky’s work can be seen as a unified ...

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Overview

Noam Chomsky has made major contributions to three fields: political history and analysis, linguistics, and the philosophies of mind, language, and human nature. In this thoroughly revised and updated volume, James McGilvray provides a critical introduction to Chomsky's work in these three key areas and assesses their continuing importance and relevance for today.

In an incisive and comprehensive analysis, McGilvray argues that Chomsky’s work can be seen as a unified intellectual project. He shows how Chomsky adapts the tools of natural science to the study of mind and of language in particular and explains why Chomsky's "rationalist" approach to the mind continues to be opposed by the majority of contemporary cognitive scientists. The book also discusses some of Chomsky’s central political themes in depth, examining how Chomsky's view of the good life and the ideal form of social organization is related to and in part dependent on his biologically based account of human nature and the place of language within it. As in the first edition, McGilvray emphasizes the distinction between common sense and science and the difference between rationalist and empiricist approaches to the mind, making clear the importance of these themes for understanding Chomsky's work and showing that they are based on elementary observations that are accessible to everyone. This edition has been extensively re-written to emphasize Chomsky's recent work, which increasingly 'biologizes' the study of language and mind and - by implication - the study of human nature.

This book will be of interest to students and scholars of philosophy, linguistics, and politics, as well as to all those keen to develop a critical understanding of one of the most controversial and important thinkers writing today.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a remarkably comprehensive yet accessible introduction to Chomsky's views about human nature, how to study it, and its various manifestations in language and politics. McGilvray's obvious enthusiasm for the subject is displayed in a text that is stunningly well researched, historically rich, empirically informed, and philosophically engaged throughout."
Paul Pietroski, University of Maryland

"McGilvray has achieved something extraordinary with this compact, accessible and penetrating text. Not only does he insightfully connect Chomsky’s voluminous contributions to current affairs with his equally voluminous work in generative grammar and philosophy of mind and language, he also gets the complex synthesis exactly right. The result is a tour de force. From now on, his is the book on Chomsky that I will direct my students to."
Robert Stainton, University of Western Ontario

"This text highlights Chomsky’s exceptional contribution to the science of language as a biological organ, to the naturalistic theory of mind, and to the view of political systems as means to meet the fundamental needs of humans. McGilvray cleverly evidences Chomsky’s unification of the science of language, human nature and politics."
Anna Maria Di Sciullo, University of Québec at Montréal

From The Critics
"This is a remarkably comprehensive yet accessible introduction to Chomsky's views about human nature, how to study it, and its various manifestations in language and politics. McGilvray's obvious enthusiasm for the subject is displayed in a text that is stunningly well researched, historically rich, empirically informed, and philosophically engaged throughout."
Paul Pietroski, University of Maryland

"McGilvray has achieved something extraordinary with this compact, accessible and penetrating text. Not only does he insightfully connect Chomsky’s voluminous contributions to current affairs with his equally voluminous work in generative grammar and philosophy of mind and language, he also gets the complex synthesis exactly right. The result is a tour de force. From now on, his is the book on Chomsky that I will direct my students to."
Robert Stainton, University of Western Ontario

"This text highlights Chomsky’s exceptional contribution to the science of language as a biological organ, to the naturalistic theory of mind, and to the view of political systems as means to meet the fundamental needs of humans. McGilvray cleverly evidences Chomsky’s unification of the science of language, human nature and politics."
Anna Maria Di Sciullo, University of Québec at Montréal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745649900
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 11/25/2013
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


James McGilvray is Associate Professort in the Department of Philosophy, McGill University.
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Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • 1: Chomsky’s Contributions
  • 2: The Mind and Its Sciences
  • 3. Partitioning the Mind: Bad and Good Cognitive Science
  • 4 Human Problem-Solving Capacities
  • 5 The Science of Language
  • 6. Linguistic Meanings and Their Uses
  • 7. Chomsky on Politics: Some Basic Themes
  • 8. Language and politics: Justification
  • Glossary
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2001

    Chomsky IS Accessible

    I lived in the Boston area for over 30 years and kept track of Chomsky's writings and lectures. This is the first book I've found that makes the man and his outstanding work(s) accessible to the non-academy-based reader. It is written in clear language with wonderful vocabulary and certainly will extend your view of who and what is Naom Chomsky.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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