Cover image for Chomsky : language, mind, and politics
Chomsky : language, mind, and politics
McGilvray, James A. (James Alasdair), 1942-
Publication Information:
Cambridge, UK : Polity Press ; Malden, MA : Blackwell, 1999.
Physical Description:
xiii, 274 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
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Format :


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P85.C47 M39 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The key to Chomsky's overall intellectual project lies in what he has to say about a biologically based human nature.

Author Notes

James McGilvray is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy, McGill University.

Table of Contents

Abbreviationsp. x
Acknowledgmentsp. xii
Introductionp. 1
A unified projectp. 1
Some aspects of Chomsky's rationalist intellectual projectp. 3
The basic observationsp. 6
1 Common Sense and Sciencep. 8
Chomsky's contributions: a quick overviewp. 8
How Chomsky's work has been receivedp. 13
Common sense, science, and mindp. 17
The science of mind and the perils of empiricismp. 28
2 Mapping the Mindp. 32
Rationalist versus empiricist: who's the scientist of mind?p. 32
Non-problems: access and mind/bodyp. 33
Where and what is reason?p. 35
A challenge to a science of the human mindp. 40
The mind mapped and capacities enabledp. 46
An illustrationp. 57
Enablement by limitationp. 60
3 Poverty, Creativity, and Making the Worldp. 62
Plato, rationalists, and Chomsky's nativismp. 63
The creative aspect of language usep. 78
Constructivism and the biological rationalistp. 89
4 Languages and the Science of Languagep. 94
Some terms of the science of languagep. 95
Locating Chomsky's theoretical approach to language: syntax, semantics, and pragmaticsp. 98
Science, 'science', and common sense: I-language, E-language, and differences between languagesp. 105
The natural way to count languages: UG, natural language, and I-languagep. 113
Adequacy in linguistic theory and progress in linguisticsp. 118
5 How to Make an Expressionp. 125
Why transformational grammar?p. 127
How the PandP framework makes a sentencep. 133
Simplicity again and optimalityp. 147
6 Meanings and Their Usep. 151
Perspectivesp. 151
Deep Structurep. 153
Perspectives and the Minimalist Programp. 156
The shape of the lexiconp. 158
Naturalized meaningsp. 162
Chomsky and Cudworth on interpretation: "innate cognoscitive power" and prolepsisp. 168
Meaning guides usep. 174
7 Anarchosyndicalism and the Intellectualp. 177
Getting into focusp. 177
The "liberal" economic conception of humans and US domestic and foreign policyp. 180
The anarchosyndicalist conception of the personp. 196
The manufacture of consentp. 203
The responsibility of intellectualsp. 216
8 Human Nature and Ideal Social Organizationp. 221
Language and politicsp. 221
The needs of human naturep. 224
The relativist's challenge, the new social science, and projectionp. 235
Orwell's problemp. 239
Socrates and Chomskyp. 244
Rationalist philosophy and the new social sciencep. 247
Notesp. 250
Referencesp. 264
Indexp. 268