Noam Chomsky || Human Nature and Human Progress

January 14, 2021

Today it’s great to have the legendary Noam Chomsky on the podcast. Noam is a public intellectual, linguist, and political activist. He’s the author of many influential books, including Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, and his latest book with Robert Pollin called Climate Crisis and The Green New Deal: The Political Economy of Saving The Planet. Chomsky is also known for helping to initiate and sustain the cognitive revolution. He’s the Laureate Professor of Linguistics at The University of Arizona and Institute Professor Emeritus at MIT.


Full Video


[02:06] The cognitive revolution of the ‘50s and ‘60s

[03:49] Noam’s first encounter with behaviorism

[12:41] What it was like to be part of the cognitive revolution

[17:49] Implicit learning and artificial grammar

[26:30] Noam’s view on modern-day behavioral genetics

[28:05] Noam’s thoughts on intelligence

[32:02] Noam’s take on creativity

[37:00] Chomsky’s view vs. Foucault’s view

[40:39] Noam’s thoughts on modern-day social justice movements

[43:35] Is there such a thing as a human nature?

[46:55] Identity vs. human nature

[52:42] Noam’s views on race consciousness in America

[57:04] Why Noam thinks Trump is the worst criminal in human history

[58:09] How can democrats appeal to Trump supporters?

[1:01:58] Cancel culture

[1:03:01] The complexities of the slogan “defund the police”

[1:08:00] Noam reflects on his life regrets

[1:08:45] Chomsky’s life advice

3 Responses to “Noam Chomsky || Human Nature and Human Progress”

  1. Thomas Hare says:

    I experienced psychological pain when you said something like biological sex is a binary, when you were talking about different pronouns in the interview with Chomsky. What you called biological sex is not actually a binary. There is no clear line of separation. Whether you’re talking about the brain, anatomy around our mid sections, chromosomes, or hormones, or… there is no clear way of dividing the two traditional sides. Please investigate, and I think you will see what I mean. I am trans, and recently engaged in discussions I probably should not have with a conservative church. Your casual comment brought back some of that traumatic feeling. Please look into this, thank you.

  2. Michael says:

    Hi, Scott.

    I enjoyed listening to your interview with Dr. Chomsky. As a Cognitive Psychologist, who teaches Cognition I spend a little time discussing the cognitive revolution. It was fascinating listening to Dr. Chomsky’s observations about the revolution though if I recall correctly, he wasn’t too keen on the term. I also got a laugh over his advice to his children, which was basically no advice. They have to figure it out on their own – how true!

  3. Shawn says:

    The conversation was great- I would have liked to hear Mr Chomsky respond to the diminished regard of human nature as the result of an effort to realize a fantasy like trans humanism.

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