The Ideas of Chomsky-BBC interview

A very early and also very interesting interview with Noam Chomsky regarding his Linguistic work published at the time. The last part contains a discussion of his political views regarding the Vietnam war and Libertarian Socialism.
Video Rating: 4 / 5

24 Replies to “The Ideas of Chomsky-BBC interview”

  1. I think what you have here is a good analogy! You are not born with the language itself (it’s sounds and meaning), but you are born with a general machine (brain) that has a general syntax, morphology, and semantics, which is very open, and then it becomes specialized as each kind of language triggers different aspects of the machinery! That’s how I have come to think of it, and I feel like it’s a good way of approaching language.

  2. if i understand it correctly, humans are going through a process of acquiring language rather than “learning”?, so we agree that language is not something you are born with,meaning if you were born in china and even if you’r parents are from africa in most chances you will be acquiring the chinese language right?

  3. Wow, I didn;t know what Chomsky was responsible for scientificaly untill now. I’m a Libertarian and was interested in his political views. Much respect for this man.

  4. @Ariuszarim. Life after Capitalism: Participatory Economics by Michael Alberts is a very interesting detailed book articulating an economic model known as participatory economics which is organized along the anarcho-syndicalist tradition. Basically economic institutions are organized into a network of federated worker and consumer councils and allocation is determined via these self-managed participatory council structures. Another example is Anarchosyndicalism by Rudolf Rocker.

  5. Can you recommend a good book which describes the normal functioning of an economy under an anarcho-sydicalist or libertarian socialist society? Something more modern than Marx, but less statist then all that 60’s welfare state crap. I just can’t wrap my mind around the basic rules of such a society. I need a socialist version of “Free to Choose”. If you can, I’d really appreciate it. I can’t have an intelligent discussion about the topic until I get this down.

  6. Oh, then you teach them something so that they have something useful to share. And, yes, something does prevent it from happening. Advertising, schooling and political discourses transport an aura of fatality over the current state of affairs: that’s like our best solutions in the minds of many. Besides, the problem is for any one person to be in this sort of relationship with a boss, an owner placed above them: that has to be abolished entirely for it be effective.

  7. Nothing prevents worker control of the means of production now. A series of partners could all start (or buy) a business and work as employees. Under that arrangement all strategic decisions would require majority vote. By “unskilled” I mean people who lack skill, ability, or knowledge which generates value for anyone else when used. How do the unskilled survive without the ability to sell labor as a commodity and without being subsidized by the skilled?

  8. It’s not the same thing, exactly. You can still learn to walk as you get older, but if you don’t learn to talk in between 3 to 5 years of age, you are roasted: you can’t ever correct it.

  9. The whole idea is to set a back and forth relationship where the administration of institutions such as workplaces would be ruled democratically by those who work there… in short, no owner who directs his employees, but employees who direct themselves — or, if you prefer, workers’ control of the means of production. People would work and be directed accordingly to decisions they take part in establishing, basically. I don’t understand your comment on the “unskilled.”

  10. Now we know that the area of the brain which processes language develops at a particular developmental stage. Much like we are programmed to have two hands, we are programmed to grow a part of the brain which can process language. More broadly, a part of the brain which can convert symbols (either visual, aural, or tactile) into concepts. Of course, this implies that the limits of language are the limits of symbol manipulation.

  11. Is that an argument against private ownership or just hierarchical organizations? It seems to me that Noam might be very much in favor of co-ops, even to the point that one participant can buy another out. Is it simply that the unskilled shouldn’t have the option to seek employment? If they don’t, and no one is subsidizing the inactivity of anyone else, how do the unskilled contribute to society in a way which does not deliver value under the current system but would in Noam’s model?

  12. That’s a very good perspective. I think many find the idea of a priori innate abilities and cognitive structures hard to accept, as it defies our notion of being free individuals that can do anything that we like. I on the other hand find the idea of traits shared across individuals through common ancestry to be, not only true, but also something we can look as binding us all together. We are not so different as we like to think. Peace!

  13. i agree. it’s analogous to “learning” to walk. the child needs a social context in which imitation, encouragement etc. can take place, but the basic physiological and neurological structure needed for walking is inherent in the child’s biological makeup.

  14. what is the dominant linguistic theory when it comes to feral children? basically those that are largely abandoned in early childhood and never really develop language. There are many cases of these types of children being found later on in their life(around 9-10) and attempts to teach them language were unsuccessful. Is language this process that must be continually developed throughout a certain time-frame?

  15. You are right, it does not apply to second language acquisition as that is based on other principles. When learning a second language you are relating that language to the patterns learned in the first. That is why learning a second language is much harder, because the plasticity of the brain is lost, and a new language does not “grow” in your brain. You have to use the parameters that have been unlocked for the second language, and so it’s easier to learn a similar language.

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