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The world’s top intellectuals

Brief lives of the world's top intellectuals, as selected by the readers of Prospect and Foreign Policy

By prospect   November 2005

NOAM CHOMSKY

Born in 1928 in Philadelphia, Chomsky earned his academic stripes as a young linguistics professor at MIT in the 1950s. His theory of transformational grammar, forged at this time, posits that the capability to form structured language is innate to the human mind. But the general public first came to know Chomsky for his outspoken opposition to the Vietnam war. For more than 40 years, he has been the academy’s loudest and most consistent critic of US policies at home and abroad. Chomsky has written more than 40…

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