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For and against Chomsky

Is the world's top public intellectual a brilliant expositor of linguistics and the US's duplicitous foreign policy? Or a reflexive anti-American, cavalier with his sources?

By Robin Blackburn   November 2005

For Chomsky Robin Blackburn celebrates a courageous truth-teller to power

The huge vote for Noam Chomsky as the world’s leading “public intellectual” should be no surprise at all. Who could match him for sheer intellectual achievement and political courage?

Very few transform an entire field of enquiry, as Chomsky has done in linguistics. Chomsky’s scientific work is still controversial, but his immense achievement is not in question, as may be easily confirmed by consulting the recent Cambridge Companion to Chomsky. He didn’t only transform linguistics in the 1950s and 1960s; he has remained in the forefront of controversy and…

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