Synopses & Reviews
Originally delivered in 1971 as the first Cambridge lectures in memory of Bertrand Russell, Problems of Knowledge and Freedom is a masterful and cogent synthesis of Noam Chomsky’s moral philosophy, linguistic analysis, and emergent political critique of America’s war in Vietnam.
In the first half of this wide-ranging work, Chomsky takes up Russell’s lifelong search for the empirical principles of human understanding, in a philosophical overview referencing Hume, Wittgenstein, von Humboldt, and others. In the following half, aptly titled “On Changing the World,” Chomsky applies these concepts to the issues that would remain the focus of his increasingly political work of the period—his criticisms of the war in Indochina and the Cold War ideology that supported it, of the centralization of U.S. decision-making in the Pentagon and the growing influence of multinational corporations in those circles, and of the politicization of American universities in the post–World War II years, as well as his analyses of the Cuban Missile Crisis and Nixon’s foreign policies.
"A subtle and scrupulous look at some of the most interesting work done in our time on language and mind." —George Steiner, The New York Times Book Review
"The first time Chomsky has joined his linguistic and political writings under one cover." —America
The first time Chomsky has joined his linguistic and political writings under one cover. (America)
From interpreting the world to changing it, this book is a synthesis of Chomsky's early work on philosophy, linguistics, and politics.
In this series of talks originally given in memory of Bertrand Russell in 1971, Chomsky applies empirical principles of human understanding to then-current issues, including the war in Indochina, the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Richard Nixon's foreign policies.
About the Author
Noam Chomsky is Professor of Linguistics at MIT, a world-renowned linguist and political activist, and the author of numerous books, including On Language, American Power and the New Mandarins, and the collection Understanding Power (all from The New Press). Arundhati Roy (foreword) lives in New Delhi. She is the author of The God of Small Things and Power Politics (South End Press).