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Decoding Chomsky - Chris Knight

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Title
Decoding Chomsky - science and revolutionary politics
Author
Chris Knight
format
Hardback
Publisher
Yale University Press
Language
English
UK Publication Date
20160902

A fresh and fascinating look at the philosophies, politics, and intellectual legacy of one of the twentieth century's most influential and controversial minds

Occupying a pivotal position in postwar thought, Noam Chomsky is both the founder of modern linguistics and the world's most prominent political dissident. Chris Knight adopts an anthropologist's perspective on the twin output of this intellectual giant, acclaimed as much for his denunciations of US foreign policy as for his theories about language and mind. Knight explores the social and institutional context of Chomsky's thinking, showing how the tension between military funding and his role as linchpin of the political left pressured him to establish a disconnect between science on the one hand and politics on the other, deepening a split between mind and body characteristic of Western philosophy since the Enlightenment. Provocative, fearless, and engaging, this remarkable study explains the enigma of one of the greatest intellectuals of our time.

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Chris Knight is currently senior research fellow in the department of anthropology at University College, London. He lives in London.

"Decoding Chomskyreads like a detective novel. So many of the arguments I found right on the mark, but I would recommend it just for the pleasure of reading Knight's great English prose, particularly his talent for understatement. A truly fantastic work, simply brilliant. I could not put it down."-Luc Steels, Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Barcelona


Luc Steele

"I can say that this is the best critique of Chomsky from the left that I have ever read. I disagree with Knight quite profoundly on a number of key issues, but in every chapter I learned something new and, in fact, found myself agreeing with him more and more as the book progressed."-Frederick Newmeyer, author of The Politics of Linguistics


Frederick Newmeyer

"This is Chomsky from a new perspective, the perspective of a social anthropologist. It connects his science with his politics in a novel and convincing way. Knight has dug deeper and made more interconnections than anyone has done before. The result is truly revelatory."-Michael Tomasello, author of A Natural History of Human Thinking


Michael Tomasello

"Chris Knight tells a compelling story with startling clarity and forceful elegance, about the bizarre results of studying language, that most human of faculties, by removing it as far as possible from lived human experience. He provides a persuasive explanation for Chomsky's strategy that reveals striking perspectives on the relationship between science, politics and values."-Marek Kohn, author of As We Know It: Coming to Terms with an Evolved Mind


Marek Kohn

"Knight's exploration of Chomsky's politics, linguistics, and intellectual history is unparalleled. No other study has provided such a full understanding of Chomsky's background, intellectual foibles, objectives, inconsistencies, and genius. "-Daniel L. Everett, author of How Language Began: The Story of Humanity's Greatest Invention


Daniel Everett

"Few disagree that language has been a game-changer for the human species. But just how we came by language remains hotly contested. InDecoding Chomsky,Chris Knight strides into this minefield to bravely replace miraculous leaps and teleology with a proposal that actually makes evolutionary sense."-Sarah Hrdy, author ofMother NatureandMothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy

"This is one of the most exciting scholarly books I have read in years. Decoding Chomsky will be required reading for anyone at all interested in the history of intellectual and political thought since the 1950s."-David Golumbia, author of The Cultural Logic of Computation

David Golumbia

"Decoding Chomsky . . . may be the most in-depth meditation on 'the Chomsky problem' ever published. . . . A compelling read."-Tom Bartlett, Chronicle Review

Chronicle Review - Tom Bartlett

"Social anthropologist Chris Knight has, almost miraculously, solved the Chomsky Problem. I've been trying to solve it for 20 years; I now feel the euphoria that one of us has solved it. Decoding Chomskyis an astonishingly well-written and researched volume that will probably be the most important work in the history of ideas, post World War II, that you'll read for quite some time. It's so lucid and well-researched and intellectually and emotionally gripping I couldn't find a fault with it, though I tried."-Michael Johnson, Overweening Generalist

Michael Johnson

"Decoding Chomsky is a groundbreaking analysis of the wide chasm that now exists between modern language science and Chomsky's view of language. A must-read for anyone trying to understand the history and trajectory of Chomsky's ideas."-Gary Lupyan, University of Wisconsin

Guy Lupyan

Type
BOOK
Country of Publication
Connecticut
Number of Pages
xiv, 285

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