Synopses & Reviews
Two of the twentieth century's most influential thinkers debate a perennial question.
In 1971, at the height of the Vietnam War and at a time of great political and social instability, two of the world's leading intellectuals, Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault, were invited by Dutch philosopher Fons Edlers to debate an age-old question: is there such a thing as "innate" human nature independent of our experiences and external influences?
The resulting dialogue is one of the most original, provocative, and spontaneous exchanges to have occurred between contemporary philosophers, and above all serves as a concise introduction to their basic theories. What begins as a philosophical argument rooted in linguistics (Chomsky) and the theory of knowledge (Foucault), soon evolves into a broader discussion encompassing a wide range of topics, from science, history, and behaviorism to creativity, freedom, and the struggle for justice in the realm of politics.
In addition to the debate itself, this volume features a newly written introduction by noted Foucault scholar John Rajchman and includes additional text by Noam Chomsky.
Two of the 20th century's most influential thinkers debate a perennial question--is there such a thing as "innate" human nature independent of experiences and external influences?
About the Author
Noam Chomsky is Professor of Linguistics at MIT and a world-renowned political thinker and activist. The author of numerous books, including On Language and Understanding Power (both available from The New Press), he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Michel Foucault (1926-84) held a chair in the History of Systems of Thought at the Collège de France. The New Press has published three previous volumes of his work as well as a collection, The Essential Foucault. John Rajchman is a professor of philosophy at Columbia University and author of Michel Foucault. He lives in New York City.