What Kind of Creatures Are We?

Noam Chomsky

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What Kind of Creatures Are We?

What Kind of Creatures Are We? By Noam Chomsky What Kind of Creatures Are We Noam Chomsky is widely known and deeply admired for being the founder of modern linguistics one of the founders of the field of cognitive science and perhaps the most avidly read political theorist

  • Title: What Kind of Creatures Are We?
  • Author: Noam Chomsky
  • ISBN: 9780231175968
  • Page: 438
  • Format: Hardcover
  • What Kind of Creatures Are We? By Noam Chomsky Noam Chomsky is widely known and deeply admired for being the founder of modern linguistics, one of the founders of the field of cognitive science, and perhaps the most avidly read political theorist and commentator of our time In these lectures, he presents a lifetime of philosophical reflection on all three of these areas of research to which he has contributed for overNoam Chomsky is widely known and deeply admired for being the founder of modern linguistics, one of the founders of the field of cognitive science, and perhaps the most avidly read political theorist and commentator of our time In these lectures, he presents a lifetime of philosophical reflection on all three of these areas of research to which he has contributed for over half a century.In clear, precise, and non technical language, Chomsky elaborates on fifty years of scientific development in the study of language, sketching how his own work has implications for the origins of language, the close relations that language bears to thought, and its eventual biological basis He expounds and criticizes many alternative theories, such as those that emphasize the social, the communicative, and the referential aspects of language Chomsky reviews how new discoveries about language overcome what seemed to be highly problematic assumptions in the past He also investigates the apparent scope and limits of human cognitive capacities and what the human mind can seriously investigate, in the light of history of science and philosophical reflection and current understanding Moving from language and mind to society and politics, he concludes with a searching exploration and philosophical defense of a position he describes as libertarian socialism, tracing its links to anarchism and the ideas of John Dewey, and even briefly to the ideas of Marx and Mill, demonstrating its conceptual growth out of our historical past and urgent relation to matters of the present.
    What Kind of Creatures Are We? By Noam Chomsky

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    One thought on “What Kind of Creatures Are We?

    1. Joseph on said:

      What Kind of Creatures Are We by Noam Chomsky is a series of four articles concerning Chomsky s area of expertise Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, political activist, author, and lecturer He is an Institute Professor and professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.I have read plenty of Chomsky as an undergraduate and graduate student in political science He is well known as a philosopher and political thinker in that field I have always been intere [...]

    2. Christopher Taylor on said:

      Noam Chomsky is not known as a slouch And there is nothing slouch like in this book But it is limited That appears to be his answer to the question posed by the title.This brief book consists of four essays What is language , What can we understand , What is the common good and The mysteries of nature How deeply hidden The first two essays and the last are loosely linked They explore the nature and the limits of some central aspects of human beings language, cognition, scientific knowledge and t [...]

    3. Jim Coughenour on said:

      A short book based on Chomsky s lectures at Columbia, composed in his usual boring style, a deceptively simple summa of his work on language, science and society I ve been reading Chomsky s books since the 1970s This is my favorite.If you haven t read Chomsky before, this is probably not the best place to start According to Kirkus Reviews, The writing is academic in its tenor, referencing throughout the work of philosophical luminaries such as David Hume, John Locke, Joseph Priestley, and many [...]

    4. Jason Gordon on said:

      This is an incredible book as it clarified Chomsky s linguistic project, which can be summed up by asking what do we expect to discover when language is brought under naturalistic inquiry What we expect to discover according to Chomsky is a computational procedure that accounts for the Basic Property of language defined as an unbounded array of hierarchically structured sentences that receive interpretations at two interfaces the sensory motor interface for externalisation and the conceptual int [...]

    5. Aaron on said:

      The first Chomsky I had to put down I think this piece is meant for PhD linguists who care about super intellectual, nerd impedimenta With yawning sentences like, Suppose X and Y are merged, and neither is part of the other, as in combining read with that book to form the syntactic object corresponding to read that book I did way too many drugs in the 80 s to comprehend this sentence Or mayhap not enough I think I ll stick to his rants on anarchy, Manufacturing Consent and true histories with Ho [...]

    6. Wu Shih on said:

      Tre lezioni sull uomo che si possono riassumere, semplificando 1 Il linguaggio intimamente legato al nostro corredo genetico e serve pi per pensare che per comunicare2 La conoscenza umana ha dei limiti intrinseci alla sua natura con buona pace del mondo scientifico classico3 Il bene comune, o la sua forma pi completa, ha le sue radici nello sviluppo di forme di autorganizzazione dal basso, nella consapevolezza e nella partecipazioneUn testo carino che si legge in poco tempo, abbastanza interessa [...]

    7. Chauncey Bird on said:

      Although the title seems to suggest a familiar philosophical subject matter, this short book packs an esoteric punch The first half is pretty thick linguistic sludge that is all but inviting I was hoping Captain Chomsky would tone it down a bit for us laymen, but that hope was unrealized Noam Chomsky s intellect is remarkable, and this little volume is an excellent peak into how he thinks about language, thinking, and being.

    8. Scriptor Ignotus on said:

      In this short, dense book, consisting of four loosely related essays, Chomsky offers a distillation of his thoughts on linguistics, cognitive science, the general prospects for future scientific discovery and their epistemological implications, and the proper arrangement of human institutions for promoting the common good In the first essay, What is Language , Chomsky corrects some common misunderstandings about the nature of human language capacity He points out that the usage of language for c [...]

    9. Stefano Ottolenghi on said:

      Che schifezza Quando qualcuno vuole dare importanza alla sua disciplina e quindi anche alla sua persona , la prima cosa che fa farla apparire complicata, e il primo modo con cui ci si riesce usare un linguaggio oscuro Potrei aprire il libro a caso, prenderne un paragrafo a caso e mostrare quanto sia scritto in termini accademici, formali e ricercati senza un buon motivo Le stesse 8 righe potrebbero essere ridotte a 3 con grande beneficio del lettore E grazie, possiamo fare a meno dei suoi riferi [...]

    10. Rhys on said:

      The linguist, Noam Chomsky, explores contemporary theory of language, human nature, and human potential.Chomsky is known for his work on the concept of universal grammar and the thesis of minimal computation, as the brain associates language to communicable ideas He offers mounting evidence that the fundamental properties of language, as developed in humans 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, is essentially an instrument of thought and only incidentally a means of communication The importance of this p [...]

    11. Bart on said:

      Please read the full review on Weighing A PigI m always puzzled when I read statements like Howard Gardner s Noam Chomsky is arguably the most influential thinker of our time , or the Observer s Chomsky is t he world s greatest public intellectual He may indeed be te most prominent critic of imperialism , as the Guardian put it But if you look at the real world effect Chomsky has, his influence seems meager and pathetic the Western world is still heavily involved in warfare in the Middle East, a [...]

    12. Safat on said:

      I m a fan of Chomsky, but this book is poorly written for most of the part It s often repetitive and trite,virtually the same sentences being repeated in multiple essays and I m very annoyed by Chomsky s repetitive resorting to his topic of specialty, linguistics, where he uses a lot of jargons which are in general inaccessible to lay audience And while dealing with scientific topics like consciousness, free will he often cited obscure and very dated references For example, Newton couldn t descr [...]

    13. Will on said:

      To anyone who has read Chomsky s philosophical work from the last half century, these essays are mostly simple restatements of previously held positions It works best as a primer for Language and Mind 1968 , Rules and Representations 1980 , and New Horizons in the Study of Language and Mind 2000 It s great if only for the endnotes, just to see what new scholarship Chomsky has been reading in the past decade Despite the cutesy cover, it s a serious book and not so much for a general readership wh [...]

    14. Dale on said:

      Language, cognition, the common good, and the limits of the knowable an excellent guide to Chomsky s current views.

    15. Karsten W. on said:

      It was a long and challenging read, partly because I am new to most topics of the book linguistics, mind body problem , partly because it is not self contained For me, it was a book to work with googling, reading the footnotes, googling again, making notes and so on.Here are some highlights of what I learned First, what is the difference between humans and other animals Our language It allows to generate unbounded arrays of expressions of what happens in our head Animals may have languages, too, [...]

    16. Jeremy on said:

      Pretty interesting book with some pretty interesting thoughts.In general, the language was way too esoteric for a layperson of this field, such as somebody like myself.However, if you are able to digest what it said, there are some very great thoughts and perspectives here.The most interesting and most difficult chapter was the last chapter, which really was in my opinion quite philosophical and metaphysical It was a unique perspective, that of a linguist speculating on the nature of physical re [...]

    17. Alamir on said:

      While it might be too academic for the general public, I think this book fits perfectly in terms of an interdisciplinary work that relates abstract philosophy to concrete science and politics You might have to be familiar with Chomsky s prior work to appreciate this book The reason I say that is partly because he updates and summarizes his past theories, but also for new readers to gain an appreciation for his depth of knowledge on areas that he might appear to be glossing over when he s actuall [...]

    18. Jackson Cyril on said:

      In this book, written at the evening of his life, Chomsky seems to have lost something of the ebullience of his youth and is less confident in our human ability to answer the question what kind of creatures are we indeed, he wryly notes that our current answers to the question What is language have scarcely evidence to support them than the one provided by Aristotle i.e language sound meaning Hume s dictum, that certain secrets are forever consigned to that obscurity in which they ever did and [...]

    19. LZ on said:

      A thought provoking and humbling read There is still so much that we don t know about the basic workings of the human mind, and that s kind of exciting There is no reason to believe that humans can solve every problem they pose or even that they can formulate the right questions they may simply lack the conceptual tools, just as rats cannot deal with a prime number maze.

    20. Lily on said:

      While I only think I completely understood 30% of this book, it was extremely fun and exciting to read something so academic and thoughtprovoking Finished my first Booktubeathon read

    21. Frank on said:

      While I agree that some of this is repetitive, especially if you have read some of his other lectures and or books on these topics, there are some new arguments here too He is still one of the most interesting people alive in my opinion Many of his arguments were sufficient for me to give up my younger hardcore empirical beliefs Him and a good very patient Kant professor.

    22. Colette on said:

      There is no contradiction here People live and suffer and endure in the real world of existing society, and any decent person should favor employing what means are available to safeguard and benefit them, even if a long term goal is to displace these devices and construct preferable alternatives.

    23. William on said:

      Chomsky explores the fact that language is a biological function, stressing the fact that we should not equate external language production speech, texts, sign language with language He argues that most of language is internal, and even not accessible to our consciousness He further notes that much scientific misunderstandings arise from the confusion of language with communication.I have sometimes had the thought that most people acquire language as a way to influence the actions of others rath [...]

    24. Jerome Cristoffer on said:

      There is a broad range of interconnected subjects discussed No one component is explained and you really have to be in the know to fully understand this book That being said, it really sparks up curiosity for the reader if they find a topic interesting For example, I don t know anything about Newton s era of science and that it was at that point in time the mind body problem was deemed to not be formulaic I can now look into this this topic for myself You can make sense of a lot of things mentio [...]

    25. Kirsten on said:

      I love it when Noam talks linguistics to me In these four somewhat dense even for Chomsky and informative essays he riffs on language, cognition, politics and science In the most enlightening and timely reading for me, given recent events in the US essay he refers to the intersection of anarchism and socialism People live and suffer and endure in the real world of existing society, and any decent person should favour employing what means are available to safeguard and benefit them, even if a lon [...]

    26. GONZA on said:

      Four pre released essays of Chomsky about language, biology, the two thing together and what are we supposed to do with them or less It s nothing new but if you have never read something written by this author, this book is a good summary of most of his thoughts.4 saggi gi pubblicati di Chomsky sul linguaggio, la biologia, le due cose assieme e cosa dovremmo farci nell ottica di un umanit migliore Non niente di nuovo, ma se non conoscete l autore questo potrebbe essere un buon bignamino per com [...]

    27. Zach on said:

      Spellingbindingly brilliant For my part, Noam Chomsky is the most illuminating, curious, intelligent mind that I ve had the pleasure and challenge of engaging with The icing on the cake in this book is having Chomsky riff on Newton, Locke, Hume, Descartes, Galileo, Dewy, along with a slew of others, as he wrestles with some of the ultimate questions of life.This should be required reading for neuroscientists, philosophers, politicians including citizens interested in politics, linguists, and eve [...]

    28. Leemaslibros on said:

      3,5 Tres ensayos de Chomsky, siempre interesantes y reveladores, pobre y r pidamente editados para compilar este brev simo volumen No recomendable como punto de entrada a este autor, y algo falt de ambici n Hubiese terminado de ser redondo si en lugar de prepararlo a la carrera, se hubiese permitido o exigido, o solicitado que Chomsky se expandiera m s en estos temas Pese a todo, una buena lectura.

    29. Ariadna73 on said:

      I found this one of Chomsky s essays particularly difficult to follow I think he is fulfilling some kind of a quota of books that he has to produce either for himself or to meet some contractor s agreements Anyways, this is not one of the most interesting ideas I have heard from this awesome author.

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