Decoding Chomsky w/ Chris Knight

Deterritorial Investigations

“Occupying a pivotal position in postwar thought, Noam Chomsky is both the founder of modern linguistics and the world’s most prominent political dissident. Chris Knight adopts an anthropologist’s perspective on the twin output of this intellectual giant, acclaimed as much for his denunciations of US foreign policy as for his theories about language and mind. Knight explores the social and institutional context of Chomsky’s thinking, showing how the tension between military funding and his role as linchpin of the political left pressured him to establish a disconnect between science on the one hand and politics on the other, deepening a split between mind and body characteristic of Western philosophy since the Enlightenment. Provocative, fearless, and engaging, this remarkable study explains the enigma of one of the greatest intellectuals of our time.”

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8 responses to “Decoding Chomsky w/ Chris Knight

  1. Consider Wittgenstein’s comments on G.E. Moore’s Paradox as Schmid at Uni Basel asks us to. Is a solution to Moore’s Paradox in terms of western binaies possible based upon any current understanding of Moore’s phrase ‘I believe’? They mean nothing: all of Chomsky’s work seems therefore to be focused upon a holistic examination meaning in practice through word frequency counts and structral means. Ergo the ” deepening a split between mind and body characteristic of Western philosophy since the Enlightenment” thing for Clark’s book is on target and Chomsky is not merely a crunchy old ranter but someone wh has a metaphysical key.

    • haven’t read the book but from the interview while he is right to take on Chomsky’s wacky “MIT mentalism” and all, his own theory of early mankind somehow being anarchic-proto-commies who develop language via play is also kooky.

      • Not as kooky as one might assume at first blush. I argue for abstraction and therefore language as mimetic response. Play is a form of mimesis and evolved in sophistication to include signifiers and language. So I am on board with the theory to the greater degree. Is this blog not play wherein we evolve language?

        • but language is only somewhat about abstraction (and abstraction isn’t make-believe, nor is all play), so most likely instead an extension of gesturing (writ large), if by mimesis you just mean imitation than fair enough, the larger point is that his politics/wishful-thinking are shaping his evo-theory and not the other way around, which I suppose echoes (prefigures?) his take on Chomsky.
          not my sense of the blog but yer part of it so make of it what you will.

          Click to access cradle.pdf

  2. i do mean quite literaly imitation which presages all else. language may be somewhat about an abstraction but it “is” in itself an abstraction

    i have noticed that wishful thinking is a reappearing theme here. it is not wrong. but can things be wished into material existence? lots of religions and the japanese water dude say affirmative. one supposed this is the ultimate conclusion of entangled matter and dark spaces which fill interstitial voids. even entangled computer tech is attempting tjhis through laser mediums

    looking at this through work of Jung and Kaveli Kull on biosignifiers so my perpective is at canid level

    • not sure what yer on about there but will check out KK (never heard of him is there a source you would recommend?) as for Jung if he had stuck to his work on feeling-toned complexes he could have enjoyed the kind of revival in neuro-psychology that William James is now having, instead of being one of the founding fathers of a lot of newage nonsense and theologizing of psyche.

  3. agree about most of your thrashing of jung. but he was highly entertaining and onto something about the origin of language if nothing else. KK is an underated Estonian biosemiotician whose work speaks to me but i would not necesarily recomend his work to you because he focusses on the critters. maybe easiest to just look up his entry on

    william james, alienists, american pragmatists, dewey, tempo-parietal-lobe-splainers: save me baby jesu!

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