Chomsky on What *object* or *entity* does psychology study?

John Halle john.halle at
Mon Jan 10 08:03:31 PST 2000

For those of you interested in Chomsky's take on this question (a question which he has spent a considerable fraction of his intellectual life addressing, incidentally) you might want to have a look at the essay "Language as a Natural Object" in the journal Mind from 1997, I believe. More technical and slightly less incisive but still very worth reading is Rules and Representations from 1980.

This raises the question as to why Chomsky's ideas on these subjects are virtually never cited when "leftists" concern themselves with larger issues relating to human psychology and human nature while those of Derrida, Lacan, et. al. whose politics (in comparison to Chomsky's at least) are dubious at best, are the coin of the realm in left circles these days.

Incidentally, the name of Skinner came up in one posting on this thread. It's worth mentioning that the essay which first put Chomsky on the map was his review of Skinner's Verbal Behavior from the mid-fifties. It would be hard to imagine a more effective exercise in intellectual demolition.


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