Chomsky’s other Revolution

MyBook is a cheap paperback edition of the original book and will be sold at uniform, low price.
This Chapter is currently unavailable for purchase.

Noam Chomsky is closely associated with the eponymous Chomskyan Revolution, a dramatic shift of allegiances, interests, and methodologies in linguistics over the decade or so following his 1957 Syntactic Structures. But these events did not occur in isolation. The developments in linguistics, and Chomsky’s currents of influence more generally, were shaped by movements in other fields, chiefly mathematics, philosophy, and psychology; in turn, Chomsky’s picture of linguistics, and his arguments, shaped developments in those fields as they participated in another revolution, an umbrella revolution, the Cognitive Revolution. The Cognitive Revolution, also dated to the 1950s but still expanding today, grew largely out of artificial intelligence and psychology, dilating to include disciplines such as philosophy, anthropology, the neurosciences, literary criticism, and even several distinctly non-Chomskyan frameworks within linguistics. All histories of this revolution name Chomsky prominently among the founding figures, on the basis of the shared features between his approach to linguistics and the model of mind that anchored the revolution, and on the basis of his systematic dismissal of the psychological framework that cognitive revolutionaries forcefully rejected, behaviorism. This chapter charts the interpenetration of Chomskyan linguistics, Cognitive Psychology, and Artificial Intelligence, as the Cognitive Revolution took form. It pays particular attention to Chomsky’s collaborations with George Miller, another universally identified founding figure of the Cognitive Revolution whose work profoundly and directly shaped Cognitive Psycholinguistics; and to the consonance Chomsky’s model had with the algorithmic, information-processing, computational picture of mental life that was among the first principles of the Cognitive Revolution.


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address