Zero Squared #146: Chomsky Responds

Mar 16th, 2018 | By | Category: Articles, Zero Squared

Chris Knight is currently senior research fellow in the department of anthropology at University College, London, focusing his research on the evolutionary emergence of human language and symbolic culture. He lives in London. His book Decoding Chomsky came out from Yale University Press in 2016 and was recently released in paperback.

Since the book first dropped Chomsky has read it and has responded. Chomsky wrote:

Knight makes an assumption common to those who [are] unfamiliar with government science-technology policy and know nothing about institutions like MIT...The whole story is a wreck.

If you haven’t already you might pick up a copy of Marx Returns by Jason Barker or get ahold of Angela Nagle’s Kill All Normies which was recently selected as one of the top ten books of 2017 by the novelist George Saunders.

Special thanks goes out to Al Mousseau this week as he was the one who edited this week's podcast.

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5 Comments to “Zero Squared #146: Chomsky Responds”

  1. joe defiant says:

    Who the hell cares what Chomsky was doing at MIT in 1963??? Do we really need a whole book “deconstructing” what someone believes Chomsky was thinking in 1963 in 2018?

    Postmodernism is really starting to be utilized to make personal attacks at this point for anyone who you don’t like. If you want to learn about why Chomsky “separated” his political views and his linguistic work why not just ask him?

  2. dmf says:

    thanks for following up on this DL, I didn’t’ read the book as an attack on (or even an explanation of) Chomsky but as a moving parable about how we are all implicated in the capitalist realisms of our times with no exit in sight, along these lines you might also want to chat with @fturner about his book The Democratic Surround.
    ps I don’t think that Chomsky is against rationality in human affairs I think he rightly points to the limits of social engineering, we have no means of mass conversion at hand so while folks like Jodi Dean and Zizek are right that we need something like a world congress to address issues like climate change at scale we lack the means of organizing such a collectivity.
    on my to do reading list:

  3. Chris Knight says:

    I’d just like to clarify what I said in this interview about Chomsky and MIT’s war research. The Pentagon funded two sorts of war-related research at MIT in the 1960s. Firstly, they funded the research needed to understand the basic scientific principles behind any potential weapons guidance systems. This research was done on-campus in labs such as Chomsky’s own lab, the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE). Secondly, they funded the development of this basic science into actual weapons systems at other, mostly off-campus, labs.

    So, Chomsky did most of his linguistics research on campus at the RLE. Then, when this research was being developed into command-and-control languages for potential use by the US Air Force, Chomsky and his students worked for the MITRE Corporation. Chomsky acted as a consultant for the MITRE Corporation from 1963 to 1965.

    So when Chomsky says that there was no on-campus war research at MIT, he is not so much lying; rather, he is seriously understating MIT’s deep involvement with the US military.

    If you want to know more, please go to:

  4. Jp says:

    Stopped listening at a point- I think Chomsky is old and is calling on mental resources that are not functioning. The point about MIT is made; the need to beat him diqn is beyond me.
    Anyway calling Chomsky’s linguistic theory crazy is ridiculous and on par with Chomsky’s attack on ‘continental’ philosophy. Noam is indeed a Kantian, at least her, so deal with it. Humans wired for language is the materialist interpretation, and I think Kant is realistically materialist, whatever he or you want to call it.

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