Avram Noam Chomsky (/ˈnoʊm ˈtʃɒmski/; born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, political commentator, social justice activist, and anarcho-syndicalist advocate. Sometimes described as the "father of ...
Avram Noam Chomsky (/ˈnoʊm ˈtʃɒmski/; born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, political commentator, social justice activist, and anarcho-syndicalist advocate. Sometimes described as the "father of modern linguistics", Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy. He has spent most of his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he is currently Professor Emeritus, and has authored over 100 books. He has been described as a prominent cultural figure, and was voted the "world's top public intellectual" in a 2005 poll.
Born to a middle-class Jewish family in Philadelphia, Chomsky developed an early interest in anarchism from relatives in New York City. He later undertook studies in linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, where he obtained his BA, MA, and PhD, while from 1951 to 1955 he was appointed to Harvard University's Society of Fellows. In 1955 he began work at MIT, soon becoming a significant figure in the field of linguistics for his publications and lectures on the subject. He is credited as the creator or co-creator of the Chomsky hierarchy, the universal grammar theory, the Chomsky–Schützenberger representation theorem, and the Chomsky–Schützenberger enumeration theorem. Chomsky also played a major role in the decline of behaviorism, and was especially critical of the work of B.F. Skinner. In 1967 he gained public attention for his vocal opposition to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, in part through his essay The Responsibility of Intellectuals, and came to be associated with the New Left while being arrested on multiple occasions for his anti-war activism. While expanding his work in linguistics over subsequent decades, he also developed the propaganda model of media criticism with Edward S. Herman. Following his retirement from active teaching, he has continued his vocal public activism, for instance supporting the anti-Iraq War and Occupy movements.
Chomsky has been a highly influential academic figure throughout his career, and was cited within the field of Arts and Humanities more often than any other living scholar between 1980 and 1992. He was also the eighth most cited scholar overall within the Arts and Humanities Citation Index during the same period. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Chomsky as the 38th most cited scholar of the 20th century in the technical psychology journals, introductory psychology textbooks, and survey responses. In recent a poll by Brian Leiter he was ranked as tenth most important anglophone philosopher from 1945 to 2000. His work has influenced fields such as artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science, logic, mathematics, music theory and analysis, political science, programming language theory and psychology. Chomsky continues to be well known as a political activist, and a leading critic of U.S. foreign policy, neoliberal capitalism, and the mainstream news media. Ideologically, he aligns himself with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism.
Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the APA
Linguistics Society of America
American Philosophical Association
Hon. degrees, University of London, 1967, University of Chicago, 1967, Loyola University of Chicago, 1970, Swarthmore College, 1970, Bard College, 1971, Delhi University, 1972, University of Massachusetts, 1973, University of ~ennsylvania, 1974
1957 Syntactic Structures. Mouton.
1959 Review of Skinner, 'Verbal Behavior'. Language, 35, 26-57.
1964 Current issues in Linguistic Theory. Mouton.
1966 Cartesian Linguistics: A Chapter in the History of Rationalist Thought. Harper & Row.
1968 Language and Mind. Harcourt, Brace Jovanovitch. (Reprinted 1972.)
1968 The Sound Pattern of English. Harper & Row (with M. Halle).
1972 Studies of Semantics in Generative Grammar. Mouton.
1975 The Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory. Plenum.
1980 Rules and Representations. Blackwell.
1988 Language and Problems of Knowledge: The Managua Lectures. MIT Press.