Noam Chomsky

chomsky by shepard fairey


Avram Noam Chomsky (b. 1928) is an American linguist, philosopher, political activist, author, and lecturer. He is a professor emeritus of linguistics at MIT. Chomsky created one of the most important contributions to the field of linguistics made in the 20th century: the theory of generative grammar, a branch of theoretical linguistics that works to provide a set of rules that can accurately predict which combinations of words are able to make grammatically correct sentences. In the 1950’s he helped start the cognitive revolution in psychology through his review of B. F. Skinner’s work.

He challenged the behaviorist way of looking at behavior and language. His natural approach to the study of language also changed the philosophy of language and mind. He invented the Chomsky hierarchy, a way of looking at formal languages in terms of their power to explain language. In the 1960s he criticized the Vietnam War. Because of that, Chomsky became more widely known for his media criticism and politics. He is a key intellectual figure within the left wing of United States politics.

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