Noam Chomsky has made major contributions to three fields:political history and analysis, linguistics, and the philosophiesof mind, language, and human nature. In this thoroughly revised andupdated volume, James McGilvray provides a critical introduction toChomsky′s work in these three key areas and assesses theircontinuing importance and relevance for today.
In an incisive and comprehensive analysis, McGilvray argues thatChomsky s work can be seen as a unified intellectual project.He shows how Chomsky adapts the tools of natural science to thestudy of mind and of language in particular and explains whyChomsky′s "rationalist" approach to the mind continues to beopposed by the majority of contemporary cognitive scientists. Thebook also discusses some of Chomsky s central politicalthemes in depth, examining how Chomsky′s view of the good life andthe ideal form of social organization is related to and in partdependent on his biologically based account of human nature and theplace of language within it. As in the first edition, McGilvrayemphasizes the distinction between common sense and science and thedifference between rationalist and empiricist approaches to themind, making clear the importance of these themes for understandingChomsky′s work and showing that they are based on elementaryobservations that are accessible to everyone. This edition has beenextensively re–written to emphasize Chomsky′s recent work, whichincreasingly ′biologizes′ the study of language and mind and – byimplication – the study of human nature.
This book will be of interest to students and scholars ofphilosophy, linguistics, and politics, as well as to all those keento develop a critical understanding of one of the mostcontroversial and important thinkers writing today.