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Wired for Sound

Daniel Dennett, 23 June 1994

The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language 
by Steven Pinker.
Allen Lane, 493 pp., £20, April 1994, 0 7139 9099 6
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Patterns in the Mind: Language and Human Nature 
by Ray Jackendoff.
Harvester, 256 pp., £11.95, October 1993, 9780745009629
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... to come into focus. And once that happened, linguistics was ready for its Newton, or its Einstein: Noam Chomsky. Building on the foundations provided by earlier logicians and linguists, Chomsky showed how the protean complexities of language could be analysed – along at least some of their dimensions – with ...


Ian Hacking: Religion’s evolutionary origins, 21 October 2004

In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion 
by Scott Atran.
Oxford, 348 pp., £20.99, November 2002, 0 19 514930 0
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... featuring a seemingly intractable confrontation between two of his heroes, Jean Piaget and Noam Chomsky. Since that time a curious blend of Piaget’s study of child development and Chomsky’s doctrine of innate structures has become an almost autonomous discipline; it could be called developmental cognitive ...


Jonathan Lethem: My Egyptian Cousin, 12 December 2002

... the President of the United States, rather than ignoring the bee-stings of a dissident leftist – Noam Chomsky, say, or Ralph Nader, perhaps Michael Moore – had had him imprisoned. Astonishment would quickly give way to fear of speaking out. The incarceration of one person, the right person, can be an act of the most ruthless efficiency, chaotic ...

The Englishness of English

Roy Harris, 6 November 1980

Studies in English Linguistics for Randolph Quirk 
edited by Sidney Greenbaum and Jan Svartvik.
Longman, 304 pp., £18, September 1980, 0 582 55079 3
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... that the word is given in the Pocket Oxford Dictionary of Current English) is itself impressive: Noam Chomsky, Ruth Kempson, Sidney Greenbaum, Dwight Bolinger, P.H. Matthews, Sven Jacobson, M.A.K. Halliday, Rodney Huddleston, Geoffrey Leech, Jennifer Coates, F.R. Palmer, R.A. Close, John Sinclair, Jan Firbas, Nils Enkvist, David Crystal, Jan ...

The Enforcer

Stephen Sackur, 20 August 1992

Deterring Democracy 
by Noam Chomsky.
Vintage, 453 pp., £7.99, April 1992, 0 09 913501 9
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Illusions of Triumph: An Arab View of the Gulf War 
by Mohamed Heikal.
HarperCollins, 350 pp., £16.99, April 1992, 0 00 255014 8
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The Imperial Temptation 
by Robert Tucker and David Hendrickson.
Council on Foreign Relations Press, 240 pp., $22.50, June 1992, 0 87609 118 4
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... to raise money for further arms purchases. Given the weight of this evidence – referred to by Chomsky, but surprisingly ignored by Heikal and Tucker and Hendrickson – it is surely reasonable to assume that had Saddam decided against a precipitate invasion of Kuwait, US support would even now be oiling the wheels of his – soon to be nuclear-capable ...

Further Left

R.W. Johnson, 16 August 1990

Prepared for the worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Hogarth, 357 pp., £9.99, July 1990, 0 7012 0903 8
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Blood, Class and Nostalgia: Anglo-American Ironies 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Chatto, 398 pp., £18, July 1990, 0 7011 3361 9
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... the continuance of right-wing rule in the ROK. There is also an extremely long exoneration of Noam Chomsky, unjustly pilloried, Hitchens feels, for having written a preface to a book by Robert Faurisson. Faurisson is one of the nest of ‘revisionist’ historians to be found at the University of Lyon (which Hitchens insists on misspelling as ...

In and out of the mind

Colin McGinn, 2 December 1993

Renewing Philosophy 
by Hilary Putnam.
Harvard, 234 pp., £19.95, January 1993, 9780674760936
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... the same structure emerges from the conception of human knowledge powerfully advocated by Noam Chomsky. Think of the human mind as a modular congeries of special-purpose facilities – organs for knowing – which are biologically based and innately specified. Then science, for Chomsky, is simply the result of ...

Whirring away

P.N. Johnson-Laird, 18 October 1984

The Modularity of Mind: An Essay on Faculty Psychology 
by Jerry Fodor.
MIT, 145 pp., £15.75, January 1984, 0 262 06084 1
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... His book reflects a general revival in the fortunes of ‘faculty psychology’. The linguist Noam Chomsky has argued for some time that there are distinct mental faculties: innate abilities that develop as ‘mental organs’ in much the same way that heart, lungs and other physical organs grow to maturity. And the psycholinguist John Marshall has ...

Tracts for the Times

Karl Miller, 17 August 1989

by Paul Johnson.
Weidenfeld, 385 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 0 297 79395 0
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CounterBlasts No 1: God, Man and Mrs Thatcher 
by Jonathan Raban.
Chatto, 72 pp., £2.99, June 1989, 0 7011 3470 4
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... Norman Mailer and James Baldwin made things worse by recommending violence. And Noam Chomsky had the nerve to protest against the violence of America in Vietnam. Paul Johnson’s is a forceful and funny book; even those who don’t like it could well enjoy it, for the most called-for of its biographical diatribes. It is nevertheless a ...


Frank Kermode, 27 July 1989

The Pleasures of Peace: Art and Imagination in Post-War Britain 
by Bryan Appleyard.
Faber, 367 pp., £12.99, June 1989, 0 571 13722 9
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... the necessary information about the likes of Hockney, Ted Hughes, John Berger, Germaine Greer and Noam Chomsky. Structuralism and Post-Structuralism (‘a logical enough outcome’) are briskly explained, Barthes, Lacan and Derrida rush by, Foucault and Althüsser get a rather breathless mention as part of the ‘post-modern landscape’. Appleyard ...


Tariq Ali: In Turkish Kurdistan, 16 November 2006

... question and the war in Iraq. Four years ago, while the war was still being plotted in Washington, Noam Chomsky and I were invited to address a public sector trade-union congress in Istanbul. Many of those present were of Kurdish origin. I said then that there would be a war and that the Iraqi Kurds would whole-heartedly collaborate with the US, as they ...

At the Occupation

Joanna Biggs, 16 December 2010

... feed were set up overnight and messages of support started to come in from people like Tariq Ali, Noam Chomsky and Billy Bragg; comedians came to tell jokes, bands to play, novelists to read their books, tutors to give seminars. On 29 November, the day before the third march, they sent a delegation to protest outside the Oxford Circus Topshop about ...

Trump’s America, Netanyahu’s Israel

Adam Shatz: Actually Existing Zionism, 9 May 2019

... one of its mechanisms of domination.’ Accused​ of antisemitism for his criticisms of Israel, Noam Chomsky used to point out that in Israel his position would hardly raise eyebrows: the problem lay with the absence of debate in the US. Today the situation is nearly the reverse. The debate has never been more constricted in Israel: even Jewish ...


Christian Lorentzen: The Democratic Convention, 11 August 2016

... a politician, and isn’t convinced by the case for voting for a lesser evil. ‘The suffering’, Noam Chomsky and John Halle wrote in June, that Trump’s ‘extremist policies and attitudes will impose on marginalised and already oppressed populations has a high probability of being significantly greater than that which will result from a Clinton ...

The Hagiography Factory

Thomas Meaney: Arthur Schlesinger Jr, 8 February 2018

Schlesinger: The Imperial Historian 
by Richard Aldous.
Norton, 486 pp., £23.99, November 2017, 978 0 393 24470 0
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... to Kennedy. He was also one of the most able defenders of the opening act of the Vietnam War. When Noam Chomsky attacked ‘conformist intellectuals’ who served American power no less faithfully than the commissars did the Kremlin, Schlesinger was one of his prime exhibits. In a highly competitive field, his talent for lying directly to the public was ...

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