<history of philosophy, biography> american linguist and philosopher (1928- ), author of Syntatactic Structure (1957), Cartesian Linguistics (A chapter in the history of rationalist thought) (1966), Language and Mind (1968), and Knowledge of Language (1986). In opposition to prevalent behaviorism, Chomsky's psycholinguistic approach holds that competence in the use of language reveals innate possession of universal generative grammatical structures that cannot be acquired simply by empirical evidence. Chomsky has also been an outspoken and thoughtful critic of American foreign policy since the 1960s in such books as American Power and the New Mandarins (1969), Necessary Illusions (1989), and Deterring Democracy (1992). Recommended Reading: The Chomsky Reader, ed. by James Peck (Pantheon, 1987).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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