This book is an outstanding contribution to the philosophical study of language and mind, by one of the most influential thinkers of our time. In a series of penetrating essays, Chomsky cuts through the confusion and prejudice which has infected the study of language and mind, bringing new solutions to traditional philosophical puzzles and fresh perspectives on issues of general interest, ranging from the mind-body problem to the unification of science. Using a range of imaginative and deceptively simple linguistic analyses, Chomsky defends the view that knowledge of language is internal to the human mind. He argues that a proper study of language must deal with this mental construct. According to Chomsky, therefore, human language is a 'biological object' and should be analyzed using the methodology of the sciences. His examples and analyses come together in this book to give a unique and compelling perspective on language and the mind.
• Written by Noam Chomsky, one of the most influential thinkers of our time • Explores the concept that knowledge of language is internal to the human brain (i.e. the concept of innate language) • Offers solutions to - and fresh perspectives on - traditional philosophical puzzles and issues of general interest in the study of human language and the mind
Foreword by Neil Smith; Preface; Acknowledgements; 1. New horizons in the study of language; 2. Explaining language use; 3. Language and interpretation: philosophical reflections and empirical inquiry; 4. Naturalism and dualism in the study of language and mind; 5. Language as a natural object; 6. Language from an internalist perspective; 7. Internalist explorations; Bibliography; Index.
'As before, Chomsky has set out issues and theories of the utmost importance. To disagree with him, to sense that the jury is out on key assertions remains a (perilous) privilege.' George Steiner, Observer
'This book extends Chomsky's thinking on matters in the philosophy of language and mind in ways that will surely move the debate forward. It fleshes out many views that Chomsky has advocated in recent years and does so in a readable and provocative form.' Professor Norbert Hornstein, University of Maryland, College Park
'Chomsky has refined his view of the language faculty often and now entertains the amazing view that language may be nearly perfect. A stunning series of essays.' David Lightfoot, University of Maryland
'These essays represent the most significant work that has been done in the general area of philosophy of language and philosophy of mind.' Gilbert Harman, Princeton University
'This is a very important book; not just because a lot of what it says is true, but also because Chomsky is a very important thinker.' Jerry Fodor, The Times Literary Supplement