Monday, August 7, 2017

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CwHD15

The Great Perhaps

Noam Chomsky is a linguist. Language is his business. He is also a liberal thinking fellow and has opposed ever imperialistic venture of the United States from Viet Nam to Afghanistan. These are not two isolated and independent areas of the man's persona. He is all of a piece.

Chomsky's notion of language suggest a universe within our minds that has the same complexity and richness as the universe without, Einstein's universe.1 This notion might also lend itself to the argument that, as some Buddhists view the problem, inside and outside are one and the same.

Language, for Chomsky, is innate. A kitten and an infant, for example, growing up together in the same household, seem to be exposed to the same sensual influences, the same 'linguistic data'; the child will grow up with the ability to understand and produce language while the cat will not. The theory from this became one that argued for the unique position of homo sapiens, the only creature in which language has evolved.

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

It can be argued, and I do, that human language is simply a different form of communication; that all things animate communicate (see Roger Payne, Among Whales); that something besides language is at issue here.

We seem to be pattern seekers. And this propensity can be leaned on to explain all behavior, including language. If one is bold enough, pattern seeking might also be applied to all things both animate and inanimate.

If one is bold enough.

Noam Chomsky



1Daniel Yergin, The New York Times Magazine [159]

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