Powers and Prospects: Reflections on Nature and the Social Order

Powers and Prospects: Reflections on Nature and the Social Order

Noam Chomsky

Language: English

Pages: 244

ISBN: 1608464245

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


From the nature of democracy to our place in the natural world, from intellectual politics to the politics of language, Powers and Prospects provides a scathing critique of orthodox views and government policy, and outlines other paths that can lead to better understanding an more constructive action.

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matter ‘is possessed of powers of attraction and repulsion’ that act at a ‘real and in general an assignable distance from what we call the body itself’. There is no reason not to take the same stand with regard to the phenomena of mind, concluding—however it may offend common sense—that ‘The powers of sensation or perception and thought’ are properties of ‘a certain organised system of matter’. Properties ‘termed mental’ are ‘the result (whether necessary or not) of such an organical structure

still genuine Materialists in the sense of ancient Materialism, that they made immediate contact a condition of influence. The collision of atoms or the attraction by hook shaped particles, a mere modification of collision, were the type of all Mechanism and the whole movement of science tended towards Mechanism. We may not yet have accustomed ourselves to the conclusions of Priestley and others, but custom is no criterion for imposing any fundamental divide, metaphysical or other, between

has any interesting bearing on the theory of meaning or knowledge of language or following rules is surely mistaken, for reasons amply discussed elsewhere. These should be truisms. Unfortunately, they serve to render a good part of the most interesting and thoughtful work in philosophy of language and mind virtually unintelligible, something that should trouble people more than it does, in my opinion. One prop of the externalist thesis rests on the assumption that the notion of ‘common language’

resort to this device is too ludicrous to elicit even a raised eyebrow, so conventional has it become. Defiance of market principles and state violence have been significant factors in economic development, including postwar Europe, Japan, and the NICs in its periphery, all of which received a crucial economic stimulus from US military adventures. Today’s First and Third Worlds were far more similar in the eighteenth century. One reason for the enormous difference since is that the rulers were

was so extreme that the US command would not even allow rebelling Iraqi generals to use captured Iraqi equipment for defence of the population against Saddam’s slaughter. A Saudi plan to support the indigenous Shi’ite uprising was quickly killed by the Bush Administration.2 The meaning of the New World Order could not have been more vividly articulated. The state of Western culture is also illuminated by the reaction: mostly applause for the statesmanship of our leaders. The reasons for

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