Noam Chomsky’s Critique of Materialism: An Appraisal

Teorie Vědy / Theory of Science 36 (4):437-455 (2014)
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This article examines the critique of materialism in the work of Noam Chomsky which treats the doctrine as lacking in any clear content. It is argued that Chomsky’s critique is a coherent one drawing on an understanding of the Newtonian revolution in science, on a modular conception of the mind, and on the related conception of epistemic boundedness. The article also seeks to demonstrate the limits of Chomsky’s position by drawing attention to his use of the third-person point of view in considering the mental and his resulting failure to make good sense of consciousness. Finally, a dual-aspect theory is recommended which would incorporate Chomsky’s agnosticism about the nature of matter.
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