ROAM AGENCY

WHAT KIND OF CREATURES ARE WE?

Noam Chomsky

 

Columbia University Press (2015, world English rights)

Cloth • ISBN-13: 9780231175968 • US 19.95 • 176 pgs.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

 

Noam Chomsky is widely known and deeply admired for being the founder of modern linguistics, one of the founders of the field of cognitive science, and perhaps the most avidly read political theorist and commentator of our time. In these lectures, he presents a lifetime of philosophical reflection on all three of these areas of research to which he has contributed for over half a century.

In clear, precise, and non-technical language, Chomsky elaborates on fifty years of scientific development in the study of language, sketching how his own work has implications for the origins of language, the close relations that language bears to thought, and its eventual biological basis. He expounds and criticizes many alternative theories, such as those that emphasize the social, the communicative, and the referential aspects of language. Chomsky reviews how new discoveries about language overcome what seemed to be highly problematic assumptions in the past. He also investigates the apparent scope and limits of human cognitive capacities and what the human mind can seriously investigate, in the light of history of science and philosophical reflection and current understanding. Moving from language and mind to society and politics, he concludes with a searching exploration and philosophical defense of a position he describes as “libertarian socialism,” tracing its links to anarchism and the ideas of John Dewey, and even briefly to the ideas of Marx and Mill, demonstrating its conceptual growth out of our historical past and urgent relation to matters of the present.

PRAISE:

“A master class taught by a master, and if someone were to ask me what exactly is it that academics do, I would point to these lectures and say, simply, here it is, the thing itself.”

Stanley Fish, The New York Times

“Chomsky’s relevance has only grown with time, and … more prescient as years pass.”

The Daily Beast

“There is no living political writer who has more radically changed how more people think in more parts of the world about political issues.”

Glenn Greenwald

Chomsky’s writings invariably reflect the force of intellect and cogency of thought that befits one of the greatest thinkers of our times—this work is no exception.

Robert May, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy & Linguistics, University of California, Davis

Noam Chomsky is arguably the most influential thinker of our time, having made seminal contributions to linguistics and philosophy, as well as political and social thought. In one succinct and powerfully argued volume, he presents a synthesis of his key ideas.

Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard University

Noam Chomsky launches this remarkable discussion with the age old question, “What kind of creatures are we?” Thus begins an extended inquiry into human cognition that takes him from the ancients to contemporary theorists of language and science, to politics. Chomsky’s erudition is formidable, and I read his disquisition with pleasure and many “aha’ moments. But what stands out for me is his wisdom; he accepts that being mere biological creatures, there is much that we can never know, and yet he is deeply empathetic with us, his fellow creatures who must struggle and try to impact our world, even though we ultimately cannot know.

Frances Fox Piven, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Graduate Center of the City University of New York

It’s always spring in Mr. Chomsky’s garden. Like John Ashbery, Noam Chomsky seems to come up with thoughts that are always fresh, unaffected by the polluting cliches that most of us inhale and exhale all day and night. To read his sentences is a life-giving elixir.

Wallace Shawn, author, Essays

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor (Emeritus) in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT. His work is widely credited with having revolutionized the field of modern linguistics. He is the author of numerous best-selling political works, which have been translated into scores of languages worldwide. His latest books include the New York Times bestsellers Hegemony or SurvivalFailed States, and Who Rules the World? Other recent books include Power Systems, OccupyHopes and Prospects, and Masters of Mankind. Haymarket Books recently reissued twelve of his classic books with new introductions by the author.

 

OTHER TITLES BY THIS AUTHOR:

A New Generation Draws the Line: Humanitarian Intervention and the “Responsibility to Protect” Today (Expanded Edition)

After the Cataclysm: The Political Economy of Human Rights, Volume II (with Edward S. Herman)

Because We Say So

Chomsky on Anarchism

Class Warfare: Interviews with David Barsamian

Culture of Terrorism

Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on the US-Israeli War Against the Palestinians (Second Edition) (with Ilan Pappé)

Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians

Hopes and Prospects

Interventions

Making the Future: Occupations, Interventions, Empire and Resistance

Masters of Mankind: Essays and Lectures, 1969 – 2013

Occupy: Reflections on Class War, Rebellion, and Solidarity (Second Edition)

On Palestine (with Ilan Pappé)

On Power and Ideology: The Managua Lectures

Optimism Over Despair: Noam Chomsky on Capitalism, Empire, and Social Change (with C. J. Polychroniou)

Power and Terror: Conflict, Hegemony, and the Rule of Force

Powers and Prospects: Reflections on Nature and the Social Order

Propaganda and the Public Mind (With David Barsamian)

Rethinking Camelot: JFK, the Vietnam War, and U.S. Political Culture

Rogue States: The Rule of Force in World Affairs

The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism: The Political Economy of Human Rights, Volume I (with Edward S. Herman)

Turning the Tide: U.S. Intervention in Central America and the Struggle for Peace

World Orders Old and New

Year 501: The Conquest Continues

 

RIGHTS INFORMATION:

Audio book:

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