Tahir Wood twood at
Thu Jun 30 07:32:30 UTC 2005

Another leftwing critique, this time of Chomsky and more substantial, very interesting on the relation of his linguistics to his anarchism. Sample:

The difference between the humanities and the sciences, for Chomsky, is that scientists must co-operate with one another across space and time and therefore be honest. In the humanities, by contrast * as in ordinary life * people are free to ignore one another and can claim whatever they please. In the humanities, scholars tend to feel threatened by science precisely because of its unrestrictedly co-operative nature. Equally, they feel threatened by ideas which are genuinely new. Such defects may also afflict disciplines within natural science. But at least 'the sciences do instil habits of honesty, creativity and co-operation', features considered 'dangerous from the point of view of society' (quoted in Rai 1995: 138). A student in a university physics department will hardly survive without being questioning; in the 'ideological disciplines', by contrast, originality is discouraged. Chomsky (1975: 219) complains that in the 'domain of social criticism the normal attitudes of the scientist are feared and deplored as a form of subversion or as dangerous radicalism'. For Chomsky, the culture of science is the real 'counter-culture' to the reigning ideology (Rai 1995: 138). 



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