Monday, July 11, 2016

Noam if You Want To

One of the chapters in Chomsky's latest slim volume of ponderings is called "What can we understand?" My response is: MOST of this book.

It's deep.

Chomsky, with elegance, marshals his profound knowledge of science, philosophy, and history and distills all of this down to about 120 pages on problems and interesting avenues for exploration in the cognitive sciences. Hold onto your hat because the first chapter with its scientific linguistic jargon might have you squirming!

I have read dozens of works by Chomsky, but with one exception they were all books about politics. Politics only makes a brief appearance here as a slim chapter called "What is the common good?" This was the most accessible chapter, but the most interesting IMO was "The Mysteries of Nature: How Deeply Hidden?" Chomsky spends a lot of time explaining the concept of mysterianism and how some attempts to understand the origins of language and consciousness might indeed be doomed as scientific enterprises, with mere speculative "storytelling" taking the place of actual proof.

So if you are up to finding out what one of history's most interesting and sophisticated minds is thinking about--Noam if you want to!

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