The concept of human nature in Noam Chomsky

Norman Roland Madarasz, Daniel Peres Santos

Resumo


One of the constants in Noam Chomsky’s philosophical, linguistic and ethical positions is the existence of what he calls “human nature”. Following Marx, Darwin and last century’s revolutions in the social sciences, human nature has been one of the most contested conceptual holdovers from modern European philosophy. Chomsky’s discoveries and models on syntax and language make up one of the frameworks to most critically offset the traditional moral dimension of human nature. Contrary to most traditions prior to his work, language can no longer be restricted to either mind, soul or spirit. Language, as Chomsky has continually upheld and sharply refined, is a physical and biological process. But how his notion of human nature derives from this process is complex, as he seems to disregard philosophy’s classic analytic delineation between the descriptive causal realm of human nature and the normative axiological extensions of the same concept. In this paper, we seek to examine the philosophical and ontological implications of Chomsky’s claim that human nature derives from the innate dimension of the language faculty. Not only does Chomsky maintain the category of human nature, he also indexes it to the question of freedom. We thereby argue for the coherence of his proposal and show how it operates to weld the perspective of a modal theory of biologically-rooted creativity to innate conditions specific to his theory of language generation. However, we question whether its restriction to humans alone is sustainable from a scientific perspective by putting forth the claim that Chomsky’s science is in fact a radical ontology of social subjectivation.

 

*** O conceito de natureza humana em Noam Chomsky ***

Uma das constantes no posicionamento filosófico, linguístico e ético de Noam Chomsky é a existência do que ele chama de “natureza humana”. Seguindo Marx, Darwin e as revoluções do último século nas ciências sociais, a natureza humana tem sido um dos remanescentes conceituais mais contestados da filosofia moderna europeia. As descobertas e os modelos de Chomsky sobre a sintaxe e a linguagem, configuram um dos quadros que mais objeta criticamente a tradicional dimensão moral da natureza humana. Contrária à maioria das tradições anteriores ao seu trabalho, a linguagem não pode mais ser restringida à mente, alma ou ao espírito. Linguagem, como Chomsky tem constantemente defendido e fortemente aperfeiçoado, é um processo físico e biológico. Mas a maneira que sua noção de natureza humana deriva desse processo é complexa, pois ele parece desconsiderar a clássica delineação analítica da filosofia, entre o reino casual descritivo da natureza humana e as extensões axiológico-normativas do mesmo conceito. Neste artigo, nós procuramos examinar as implicações filosóficas e ontológicas da afirmação de Chomsky à qual a natureza humana deriva da dimensão inata da faculdade da linguagem. Chomsky, não só mantém a categoria da natureza humana, como também a indexa à questão da liberdade. Nós, portanto, argumentamos em favor da coerência de sua proposta e mostramos como ela opera para soldar a perspectiva de uma teoria modal da criatividade biologicamente enraizada, com condições inatas específicas de sua teoria da linguagem gerativa. Entretanto, nós questionamos se a restrição dessa somente aos humanos é sustentável a partir de uma perspectiva científica, ao apresentarmos a afirmação de que a ciência de Chomsky é na verdade uma ontologia radical de subjetivação social.

Palavras-chave: Chomsky, Noam; natureza humana; faculdade de linguagem; programa biolinguístico; decodificando Chomsky; liberdade.


Palavras-chave


Chomsky, Noam; human nature; language faculty; biolinguistic enterprise; decoding Chomsky; freedom.

Texto completo:

PDF (English)

Referências


BERWICK, R. and N. CHOMSKY, Why only us? Language and Evolution. New York: MIT Press, 2015.

BOLHUIS, Johan J.; TATTERSALL, Ian; CHOMSKY, Noam; BERWICK, Robert C. How Could Language Have Evolved? Plos Biology, San Francisco, v. 12, n. 8, p.1-6, ago. 2014.

CAMPOS, J. “Chomsky vs Pinker: na interface entre Linguística e Psicologia Evolucionária” Letras de Hoje, Porto Alegre, v. 46, n. 3, p. 12-17, jul./set. 2011, pp. 12-17.

CHOMSKY, Noam. Biolinguistics and the Human Capacity. Disponível em:

https://chomsky.info/20040517/. Acesso em: 02 nov. 2018.

CHOMSKY, Noam. What Kind of Creatures Are We? New York: Columbia University Press, 2016a.

CHOMSKY, Noam. Why Only Us? Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2016b.

CHOMSKY, Noam. Masters of Mankind: Essays and Lectures: 1969-2013. M. Rasin (editor). Chicago: Haymarket Press, 2014.

CHOMSKY, Noam. “The Mysteries of Nature: how deeply hidden?”, The Journal of Philosophy, CVI, N. 4, April 2009, pp. 167-200.

CHOMSKY, Noam. The Minimalist Program. London, England: MIT Press, 1995.

CHOMSKY, Noam. Radical Priorities. Second edition. Edited by Carlos Otero. Montreal: Black Rose, Press, 1989.

CHOMSKY, Noam. Knowledge of Language: Its Nature, Origin, and Use. New York: Praeger, 1986.

CHOMSKY, Noam. “Language and Freedom.”, For Reasons of State. New York: Pantheon Books, 1973. [Disponível em:

https://chomsky.info/language-and-freedom/. Acesso em: 04 out. 2017b.]

CHOMSKY, Noam. Cartesian Linguistics. A Chapter in the History of Rationalist Thought. New York: Harper and Row, 1966.

CHOMSKY, Noam; MCGILVRAY, James. The Science of Language: New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

CHOMSKY, Noam; POPESCU, Beatrice. On the Freedom of Speech and Expression: Interview with Noam Chomsky. Europe's Journal Of Psychology, Bucharest, v. 9, n. 2, p.214-219, maio 2013.

CHOMSKY, Noam; FOUCAULT, Michel; RAJCHMAN, John. The Chomsky-Foucault debate. New York: The New Press, 2006.

CHOMSKY, Noam and Mitsou RONAT. On Language: Chomsky's Classic Works Language and Responsibility and Reflections on Language. New York: The New Press, 2007.

ELDREDGE, Niles, and S. J. GOULD (1972). “Punctuated equilibria: an alternative to phyletic gradualism”, In T.J.M. Schopf, ed., Models in Paleobiology. San Francisco: Freeman, Cooper and Company, pp. 82–115.

EVERETT, Daniel. A língua pirahã e a teoria da sintaxe: descrição, perspectivas e teoria. Campinas, SP: Unicamp, 1991.

FITCH, William Tecumseh; HAUSER, M.D.; CHOMSKY, N. The evolution of the language faculty: clarifications and implications. Cognition, v. 97, p. 179-210, set. 2005. Disponível em: HARRIS, R. A. “The History of a Science: unreliable narrators and how science moves on”, OpenDemocracy, 9 May 2018.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/randy-allen-harris/history-of-science-unreliable-narrators-and-how-science-moves-on.

HAUSER, M. D.; CHOMSKY, Noam; FITCH, Tecumseh. “The Faculty of Language: What Is It, Who Has It, and How Did It Evolve?” Science, [s.l.], v. 298, n. 5598, p.1569-1579, 22 nov. 2002. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

JACKENDOFF, Ray; PINKER, Steven. The Nature of the language faculty and its implications for of language. Cognition, v. 97, p. 211-225, set. 2005b. Disponível em:

http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/articles/papers/2005_09_Jackendoff_Pinker.pdf.

JACOB, François. The Logic of Life. New York: Princeton University Press, 1993. [Translation of La Logique du Vivant, 1976.]

KNIGHT, Chris. “When Chomsky worked on Weapons Systems for the Pentagon”, Libcom.org, 5 March 2018.

https://libcom.org/history/when-chomsky-worked-weapons-systems-pentagon-chris-knight.

KNIGHT, Chris. Human nature and the origins of language. Disponível em:

http://www.chrisknight.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/Interview-with-Noam-Chomsky.pdf/. Acesso em: 04 out. 2017.

KNIGHT, Chris, “Chomsky at MIT: Between the war scientists and the anti-war students”, Libcom.org., April 17, 2017.

https://libcom.org/history/chomsky-mit-between-war-scientists-anti-war-students-chris-knight.

KNIGHT, Chris, Decoding Chomsky. Politics and Revolutionary Science. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2016.

KNIGHT, Chris, “Noam Chomsky: Politics or Science?”, What Next? Marxist discussion journal 26 (2003) 17-29. Revised version (2010):

http://radicalanthropologygroup.org/sites/default/files/pdf/pub_chomsky_politics_science.pdf.

LEVI-STRAUSS, Claude. Introduction to the Work of Marcel Mauss. London, England: Routledge, 1987/1950.

MADARSZ, Norman. O Realismo Estruturalista: sobre o imanente, o intrínseco e o inato. Porto Alegre, Brasil: Editora Fi, serie PUCRS Filosofia e interdisciplinaridade, 2016.

MADARASZ, Norman. The Biolinguistic Challenge to an Intrinsic Ontology. In: VERNON, Jim; CALCAGNO, Antonio. Badiou and Hegel: Infinity, Dialectics, Subjectivity. London: Lexington Books (the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group), 2015. p. 123-154.

McGILVRAY, James. Chomsky: Language, Mind, Politics. 2nd Edition. New York: Polity Press, 2014.

MORO, Andrea, The Boundaries of Babel: The Brail and the Enigma of Impossible Languages. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2008.

PINKER, Steven; JACKENDOFF, Ray. “The Faculty of language: what’s special about it.” Cognition, v. 95, p. 201-236, mar. 2005. Disponível em:

http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/articles/papers/2005_03_Pinker_Jackendoff.pdf.

PINKER, Steven, BLOOM, Paul. “Natural language and natural selection”. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, v. 13, n. 4, p. 707-784, 1990.

RASKIN, MARCUS “FOREWORD”, Masters of Mankind: Essays and Lectures: 1969-2013. Chicago: Haymarket Press, 2014.

REIS, Leonardo Bastos. Natureza humana e política: O ponto de vista chomskiano. Kínesis, Vol. I, n° 02, Outubro-325 2009, p. 309 – 326.

RONAT, M. in CHOMSKY, Noam; FOUCAULT, Michel; RAJCHMAN, John. The Chomsky-Foucault debate. New York: The New Press, 2006.

ROY, Arundhati. The Loneliness of Noam Chomsky.In CHOMSKY, Noam, For Reasons of State. New York: The New Press, 2003.

SOPER, Kate; CHOMSKY, Noam. On Human Nature: Noam Chomsky interviewed by Kate Soper. 1998. Disponível em:

https://chomsky.info/199808__-2/. Acesso em: 17 jun. 2018.

TOMASELLO, M. “What kind of evidence could refute the UG hypothesis? Commentary on Wunderlich”, Studies in Language 28:3 (2004), 642–645.

WILKIN, Peter. Chomsky and Foucault on Human Nature and Politics: An Essential Difference? Social Theory and Practice, Tallahassee, v. 25, n. 2, p.177-210, 1999.

WILKIN, Peter. Noam Chomsky on power, Knowledge and Human Nature. London: Palgrave Press, 1997.

WOLFE, T. The King of Speech. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2016.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15448/1984-6746.2018.3.32564



ATENÇÃO

Sistema em manutenção

Migração do sistema OJS para a versão 3.0. Durante este período os usuários:

  • Poderão acessar todo o conteúdo já publicado
  • Não poderão efetivar encaminhamentos do fluxo editorial (submissão, avaliação, publicação)

Previsão: 06/07/2020


ISSN-L: 0042-3955 | e-ISSN: 1984-6746


Exceto onde especificado diferentemente, aplicam-se à matéria publicada neste periódico os termos de uma licença Creative Commons Atribuição 4.0 Internacional, que permite o uso irrestrito, a distribuição e a reprodução em qualquer meio desde que a publicação original seja corretamente citada. Copyright: © 2006-2020 EDIPUCRS