Re: Not a fan of Chomsky

September 12, 2017 08:37AM

To claim that Chomsky's knowledge is "superficial" and not in line with the hard/quantitative sciences would suggest to me that you are perhaps not well aware of his revolutionary contributions to the field of linguistics, which is effectively a philosophical and mathematical approach to understanding language (and thus the mind's structure) itself.

So what mathematical proofs or quantitative papers has Chomsky directly created in linguistics? Not contributed towards- what has he actually done in the field that's quantitative that didn't require collaboration with an academic/researcher from a quantitative background?


His academic work is foundational to an entire branch of anthropology, applied computer science and AI and is woven throughout our modern society in very technical ways that many specialized mathematicians or physicists would only dream of.

I will reiterate, Chomsky is not quantitative. He's an expert in one specific field (linguistics). Even if he contributed to these fields or laid the foundation, he is not a Computer Scientist (see: quantitative), or an AI PhD researcher (normally some form mathematician). He is not quantitative*. He. is. not. quantitative.

I am not saying he has contributed nothing to academia ever. I'm saying he overreaches and opines on things outside his realm of expertise and because he is articulate, people take his opinions as gospel.


You may not like his political philosophies, but he's proven to be worth paying attention to just as you might listen to Einstein's opinions about politics.
Except it's not proven. Also I think many of Einsteins views on politics were naive. Again, an example of a genius in one field overreaching.

Politics and economics are broad fields, fields which are easily accessible to many people. Chomsky is articulate which means he is more likely to be taken at face value by a portion of the population. This is not a phenomenon specific to Chomsky. You will find this across all academia, and all walks of life. Chomsky is a major offender, as are a raft of academics on the Left, including Marx.


As others have said, his political influence in American these days is primarily among left-wing academics, socialist/anarchist thinkers.

I've outlined why I believe this to be an issue above. It's not something specific to Chomsky. Marx was articulate- he was probably the most influential figure in the field of economics since Adam Smith. It doesn't mean his views weren't poorly informed.

*Why does this matter, and why do I keep harping back to it? Simple. In order to understand basic economics, and by proxy many aspects of politics you need to have, at a minimum, a basic level of numeracy and quantitative ability. Chomsky routinely comments and opines on these things and is taken as a credible voice in this area. I question his credentials and competency in this area.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/12/2017 09:19AM by istirith.
Subject Author Posted

Noam Chomsky

Kstatida September 08, 2017 12:06PM

Read Manufacturing Consent and Failed States. (n/t)

The Faithful of Nazmorghul October 19, 2017 04:32PM

Thanks, added to the list. (n/t)

Kstatida October 19, 2017 10:34PM

Not a fan of Chomsky.

istirith September 11, 2017 09:15PM

Re: Not a fan of Chomsky

DuneTree September 12, 2017 07:50AM

Re: Not a fan of Chomsky

istirith September 12, 2017 08:37AM

Chomsky could very much be considered a computer scientist.

Stevers September 12, 2017 07:53PM

LEX and YACC. Oooh good days. (n/t)

Jib September 13, 2017 11:15AM

Most of the humanities and social sciences are like that

starbright September 11, 2017 11:39PM

Absolutely agree.

istirith September 12, 2017 08:39AM

My previous company (economic consulting) had both maths and econ people

starbright September 12, 2017 10:10AM

In Russia, public opinion doesn't consider PhD in economics to be real PhDs :) (n/t)

Kstatida September 12, 2017 11:02AM

Yeah but in Russia you also turn down the Fields Medal on principle too. nt

istirith September 12, 2017 11:10AM

Quoting Perelman (my translation)

Kstatida September 12, 2017 12:11PM

Much of this matches my impression

Kstatida September 11, 2017 10:41PM

Influential on the Left. Though less so this generation than last.

Rhyaldrin September 08, 2017 12:42PM

Yes. It would be wise for any left-winger to disown Antifa entirely (n/t)

starbright September 09, 2017 03:00AM

I agree completely.

Dalbrin October 20, 2017 12:01AM

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