The Chomsky-Foucault Debate: On Human Nature
DescriptionIn this historic 1971 debate, two of the twentieth century's most influential thinkers discuss whether there is such a thing as innate human nature. In 1971, at the height of the Vietnam War and at a time of great political and social instability, two of the world's leading intellectuals, Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault, were invited by Dutch philosopher Fons Elders to debate an age-old question: Is there such a thing as "innate" human nature independent of our experiences and external influences? The resulting dialogue is one of the most original, provocative, and spontaneous exchanges to have occurred between contemporary philosophers. Above all, their discussion serves as a concise introduction to their two opposing theories. What begins as a philosophical argument rooted in linguistics (Chomsky) and the theory of knowledge (Foucault), soon evolves into a broader discussion encompassing a wide range of topics, from science, history, and behaviorism to creativity, freedom, and the struggle for justice in the realm of politics. In addition to the debate itself, this volume features a newly written introduction by noted Foucault scholar John Rajchman and includes substantial additional texts by Chomsky and Foucault. "[Chomsky is] arguably the most important intellectual alive." --The New York Times "Foucault . . . leaves no reader untouched or unchanged." --Edward Said
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About the Author
Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor (emeritus) in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Laureate Professor of Linguistics and Agnese Nelms Haury Chair in the Program in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona. A world-renowned linguist and political activist, he is the author of numerous books, including On Language: Chomsky's Classic Works Language and Responsibility and Reflections on Language; Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky, edited by Peter R. Mitchell and John Schoeffel; American Power and the New Mandarins; For Reasons of State; Problems of Knowledge and Freedom; Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship; Towards a New Cold War: U.S. Foreign Policy from Vietnam to Reagan; The Essential Chomsky (edited by Anthony Arnove); and On Anarchism. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.
Michel Foucault (1926-1984) was one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. He held a chair in the history of systems of thought at the Collège de France and lectured at universities throughout the world. The New Press has published his books Aesthetics, Method, and Epistemology; Ethics; Power; and The Essential Foucault. Foucault's other books include Madness and Civilization, Discipline and Punish, The Order of Things, and The History of Sexuality.