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Rules and Representations (Columbia Classics…

Rules and Representations (Columbia Classics in Philosophy)

by Noam Chomsky

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Most of us know Chomsky's work in the political sphere. He is cool, calm, collected and thorough. You can't ruffle him; he is unflappable. He has the facts at his disposal. His calm demeanor is remarkably threatening to his debating opponents. It's fascinating.

This book shows an entire other side of Noam Chomsky, defending his primary territory, linguistics. It was my major, so I had no trouble navigating the concepts, but it was easy for me to see where the uninitiated would simply shut the book and move on to something less painful.

The memorable aspect for me was the animated Noam Chomsky who came right through the text - transcripts of a lecture series at Columbia - with fire and brimstone. Chomsky defends by going on the attack. He accuses his critics and proposers of alternatives of all kinds of intellectual faults and weaknesses - the high crimes and misdemeanors of academia. Chomsky really comes alive in what you might expect to be a flat transcript. For that alone, it was worth the purchase. The actual scientific findings and positions however are still up in the air, 33 years later. ( )
  DavidWineberg | Jan 26, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chomsky, Noamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Argenté, J. A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Corver, HennyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0231048270, Perfect Paperback)

As Norbert Hornstein writes in his foreword, "it underestimates Chomsky's impact in linguistics, philosophy, and psychology to describe it as immense." In Rules and Representations, Noam Chomsky lays out many of the concepts that have made his approach to linguistics and human cognition so instrumental to our understanding of language.

In this influential and controversial work Chomsky draws on philosophy, biology, and the study of the mind to consider the nature of human cognitive capacities, particularly as they are expressed in language. He arrives at his well-known position that there is a universal grammar, genetically determined, structured in the human mind, and common to all human languages. Aside from his examination of the various principles of the universal grammar -- its "rules and representations" -- Chomsky considers the biological basis of language capabilities and the possibility of studying mental structures and capacities in the manner of the natural sciences. Finally, he also explores whether there may be similar "grammars" of perception, art, human nature, scientific reasoning, and the unconscious.

Based on Chomsky's lively 1978 Woodbridge Lectures, this edition, first published in 1980, contains revised versions of the original lectures and two new essays. It also includes an extensive foreword by Norbert Hornstein, discussing Chomsky's ideas and their wide-ranging impact.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:26 -0400)

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