It appears that I’m having trouble falling asleep this evening, which isn’t good as I have to be up early. In response to my last post, Tom of Grundledung was kind enough to remind me of a post I wrote nearly a year ago on the issue of normativity. On the one hand, I’m pleased by this post as it seems that my thoughts have been fairly consistent on these issues since they last flared up. On the other hand, as I review Tom and Pete’s comments, I find myself even more perplexed and wonder if we aren’t just talking about entirely distinct issues (i.e., talking past one another).

In a passage I quote in the post from last year, Pete writes:

I think the best point that can be made here is that there is more to normativity than ethical normativity. There is at least also rational normativity, which is prior to, and a necessary condition of, anything like ethical normativity. I would claim that it is indeed impossible to coherently deny the force of rational normativity. Regardless of the specific content of the fundamental norms of rationality (though we could suggest, for instance, the obligation to divest oneself of incompatible commitments), one must acknowledge that if one is engaged in an argument, then one is bound by norms which determine how the argument should take place, and that they are the same norms that one’s interlocutor is bound by. To put it another way, one may at time make claims like ‘well, I just use the word ‘justice” differently from you, but one cannot claim ‘I just argue differently than you do’.

This fact testifies to the binding character of certain fundamental norms that we implicitly acknowledge insofar as we engage in discourse at all. Some, myself included, think that this provides the possibility of a foundational approach in philosophy, in which deontology is indeed prior to ontology, grounded in that which none of us can deny insofar as we want to say anything at all. Whether or not such fundamental deontology can be extended beyond the theoretical into the realm of the practical and thus the ethical (as discourse ethicists like Habermas and Apel have attempted) is another matter.

I find myself grumbling a bit at Pete’s these that argument is necessarily grounded in certain norms. While I share with Pete a commitment to the principle of non-contradiction and identity, I also believe that we should look to rhetoric and how real life arguments function when raising this sort of question. The rhetoricians, I think, would have a very different perspective on this issue. With that said, I’m willing to follow him here.

For me the problems emerge when Pete asserts that deontology (and again, is this a specific Kantian reference or is “deontology” being used in a broader sense with which I’m not familiar) is indeed prior to ontology. What exactly is being claimed or asserted here? Is Pete making the claim that certain normative commitments are prior to inquiry, or is Pete making the claim that normativity is prior to being. These two claims are very different and have very different implications. If the former, then I don’t think the speculative realist, of whatever stripe, really has much of a dispute with Pete. Such a thesis doesn’t, I would think, commit one to correlationism or undermine realism. The realist here, I think, can simply shrug his or her shoulders and say “sure, there are norms that govern inquiry.”

read on!

Over at Cogburn’s blog I noted that there’s a debate brewing over whether or not Kant advocates the thesis that we can know things-in-themselves. Of course, Kant’s thesis is that things-in-themselves exist, but that we can never have knowledge of them. Consequently, any knowledge we do have only applies to appearances or phenomena, or how things are given to us. Whether things exist in this way apart from us, the Kantian contends, is something we can never know. For example, things-in-themselves might be merely “thing-in-itself”, or a single unitary being without discrete entities. Sometimes it’s suggested that while Kant is a transcendental idealist, he is also an empirical realist. From the thesis that Kant is an empirical realist, it is then argued that Kant endorses the existence of the objects discovered by science as things-in-themselves. This severely misconstrues what Kant means by “empirical realism”. Let’s have a look:

I understand by the transcendental idealism of all appearances the doctrine that they are all together to be regarded as mere representations and not things in themselves, and accordingly that space and time are only sensible forms of our intuition, but not determinations given for themselves or conditions of objects as things in themselves. To this idealism is opposed transcendental realism, which regards space and time as something given in themselves (independent of our sensiblity). The transcendental realist therefore represents outer appearances (if their reality is conceded) as things in themselves, which would exist independently of us and our sensibility and thus would also be outside us according to pure concepts of the understanding. (CPR, A369)

Having carefully distinguished between transcendental idealism and transcendental realism, Kant then goes on to introduce the concept of empirical realism:

The transcendental idealist, on the contrary, can be an empirical realist, hence, as he is called, a dualist, i.e., he can concede the existence of matter without going beyond mere self-consciousness and assuming something more than the certainty of representations in me, hence the cogito ergo sum. For because he allows this matter and even its inner possibility to be valid only for appearance– which, separated from our sensibility, is nothing –matter for him is only a species of representations (intuition), which are call external, not as if they related to objects that are external in themselves but because they relate perceptions to space, where all things are external to one another, but that space itself is in us. (A370)

All “empirical realism” means for Kant is that objects (in the Kantian sense, i.e., as opposed to things) appear in space. However, here we must recall that for Kant, space is not something that belongs to things-in-themselves, but rather issues from mind as the form of intuition. Whether or not things-in-themselves are spatial is, for Kant, something we can never know. Clearly, then, Kant’s empirical realism is certainly know metaphysical realism about objects in space. Whether the world in-itself is anything like the world we know is, for Kant, something that we can never know. The claim that Kant was an empirical realist is not a rejoinder to the sorts of charges the speculative realists are leveling against correlationism.

This week my students and I began exploring Meillassoux’s After Finitude. The first chapter of Meillassoux’s After Finitude begins with a call to rehabilitate the discredited distinction between primary and secondary qualities. It will be recalled that secondary qualities are purely relational, existing only in the interaction between the body and the object or the subject and the object, whereas primary qualities are qualities that are in the object itself, regardless of whether any body or subject relates to them. Generally primary qualities are treated as any qualities that can be mathematized or quantified (extension, duration, mass, wavelengths, numerical temperatures, and so on). When elucidating secondary qualities Meillassoux gives the nice example of the pain you feel in your finger when burnt by a candle flame. To be sure, the candle flame causes this pain, but it cannot be said that the flame has pain as one of its qualities. The pain only exists in the relationship between my finger and the flame. Thus, in the traditional sorting of primary and secondary qualities, qualities like colors, tastes, textures, scents, sounds, pains, pleasures, and so on are all purely relational in character. And insofar as these qualities are all relational, it cannot be said that there is anything like colors, tastes, textures, scents, pains, and pleasures in the world itself.

read on!

No, this is not a Kant bashing diary.

Given the flurry of writing today it’s probably fairly evident that I’m trying to avoid grading. Despite my antipathy to Kant and transcendental idealism, I do find his thought endlessly fascinating and replete with brilliant and devious arguments. It was thus with great pleasure that I got to recently explore the Prolegomena once again with my students. And as we worked through the Prolegomena I found myself particularly struck by the logic and structure of the a priori categories which Kant introduces in the transcendental analytic of the Critique of Pure Reason. In particular, I found myself fascinated by the manner in which every third category is a combination of the preceding two categories. For the object-oriented ontologist the categories falling under quantity and relation are particularly important.

To be clear, I am not endorsing Kant’s specific theorization of the categories (i.e., that they are a priori structures of the mind). As a realist I am, of course, committed to the thesis that attributes like being a substance belong to the things-themselves, not the mind regarding objects (viz., they are primary, rather than secondary, qualities). Nonetheless, there is a great deal of interest in these categories, despite the short shrift he gives to their elaboration (does Kant somewhere treat them in detail in his lectures?).

read on!

It is not unusual, in discussions about Kant, to hear supporters of Kant emphasize that he is an empirical realist and a transcendental idealist. It is important to understand what Kant has in mind by empirical realism and why it is radically different than realist ontologies. At this late hour I will not do this issue the justice it deserves, but hopefully indicate some pointers that will help to clarify the issue. No one is forgetting that Kant claims to be an empirical realist in these discussions, above all those that advocate realist ontologies. Nor are realist criticisms of Kant based on the idea that somehow he is subjectivist or a subjective idealist. Empirical realism is something radically different than a genuine realist ontology. When Kant describes his position as an empirical realism, he is not asserting a realist ontology, but is making a claim about intersubjectivity. What Kant is saying is that the items that populate experience are “objective” in the sense that what we experience is intersubjectively communicable and universal by virtue of the transcendental structure of subjectivity or mind as outlined by Kant. In other words, for Kant we are entitled to say that when the sun warms the rock (here I’m drawing on his famous distinction between perception and experience in the Prolegomena), we’re entitled to claim that this causal relation is an objective truth, i.e., intersubjectively universal.

Nonetheless, while Kant is an empirical realist and this is a commendable thing (was it ever in dispute that he wanted to establish the objectivity of science and mathematics?), he remains a transcendental idealist. In short, Kant’s empirical realism only extends as far as the subject and humans. He nonetheless remains committed to the thesis that what objects might be independent of humans, and whether objects exist as our empirical claims portray them, is something that we can never know and which must be carefully excluded from philosophical discussion. For Kant, even in his empirical realism, there’s always an “asterisks” containing the qualification “for us and apart from us we can never know”.

read on!

A central aim of Bhaskar’s A Realist Theory of Science is to diagnose what he refers to as the “epistemic fallacy”. In a nutshell, the epistemic fallacy consists in the thesis, often implicit, that ontological questions can be reduced to epistemological questions. The idea here is that ontology can be entirely resolved or evaporated into an inquiry into our access to beings, such that there are no independent questions of ontology. As an example of such a maneuver, take Humean empiricism. As good Humean empiricists, we “bracket” all questions of the world independent of our mind and simply attend to our atomistic impressions (what we would today call “sensations”), and how the mind links or associates these punctiform impression in the course of its experience to generate lawlike statements about cause and effect relations.

Note the nature of Hume’s gesture: Here we restrict ourselves entirely to our atomistic sensations and what can be derived from our sensations. Questions about whether or not our sensations are produced by entities independent of our mind are entirely abandoned as “dogmatic” because we do not have access to the entities that might cause or produce these sensations, but only the sensations themselves. Consequently, the order of knowledge must be restricted to what is given in sensation. Hume’s epistemology is thus based on a thesis about immanence or immediacy. Insofar as our minds possess and immediate relation to our sensations, we are epistemically warranted in appealing to sensations as grounds for our claims to knowledge. We are not however, warranted in appealing to objects, powers, selves, or causes because we do not have sensations of these things. Consequently, all of these ontological claims must be reformulated in epistemological terms premised on our access to being. If we wish to talk of objects, then we must show how the mind “builds up” objects out of atomistic impressions and associations. If we wish to speak of powers, then we must show how the mind builds up powers out of atomistic impressions and associations. If we wish to speak of causality we must show how the mind builds up an idea of cause and effect relations through impressions and associations. If we wish to speak of selves and other minds we have to show how mind builds up our sense of self and other minds out of impressions and cause and effect associations.

At the level of the form of the argument, not the content, nearly every philosophical orientation since the 18th century has made the Humean move. While the content of these positions differ, the form of the argument remains roughly the same. That is, we perpetually see a strategy of attempting to dissolve ontological questions through epistemological questions. This move always proceeds in two steps: First, one aspect of our experience is claimed to be immanent or immediate. Second, the furniture of our ontology is then dissolved through an analysis of those entities with reference to this plane of immanence or immediacy. The immediate can be impressions as in the case of Hume, the transcendental structure of mind as in the case of Kant, the intentions of pure consciousness as in the case of Husserl, or language as in the case of late Wittgenstein or the thought of Derrida. Other examples could be evoked. In each case, the gesture consists in showing how the being of beings can be thoroughly accounted for in terms of our access through this immanence or immediacy. The point is that we no longer treat the entities in our ontology as existing independently of this field of immanence or immediacy, but now see them as products of these modes of access. Whether the world is really like this independent of our chosen regime of construction is a question that is abandoned as dogmatic.

read on!

Returning to the theme of transcendental arguments once again, why is it that these arguments have taken the form of a transcendental idealism rather than a transcendental realism. Recall the basic form of transcendental arguments as nicely articulated in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Transcendental arguments…

…characteristically center on a claim that, for some extra-mental proposition P, the indisputable truth of some general proposition Q about our mental life requires that P.

Thus, for example, we indisputably make causal judgments (proposition Q). Judgments of necessity or causal judgments cannot be derived from sensation. Therefore, there must be a category of causation in our mind that functions as the condition for the possibility of making these judgments. I develop this line of argument in more detail here.

Now, the question I am asking is why mental life, consciousness, mind, language, society, or communication is being granted a special privilege in these arguments? I suspect that the answer lies in some thesis about the immanence of mind to itself. In other words, we locate these transcendental conditions in mind (or language, or communication, or perception, or the social) because we implicitly hold that we have direct access to these domains whereas we do not have direct access to objects transcendent to us.

However, if the last 300 years of philosophy have shown us anything, it has shown us that we do not have any direct or immanent or immediate access to our own minds. As Lacan liked to say, following Freud, the subject is split. This is true even in Kant, as can be seen in both the paralogisms and the the deduction where Kant distinguishes between the subject as phenomena to itself, the transcendental unity of apperception, and the subject in-itself. Similarly, phenomenology increasingly discovered just how elusive givenness is in intuition, or how there is no immediacy in consciousness.

Yet if we follow through the implications of these points, then it would seem that there’s no reason to privilege mind (or some variant thereof) in our transcendental arguments. In other words, all things being equal, why is it less plausible to argue for a transcendental realism? Rather than inferring a category of causality in the mind when noting the indisputable fact that we make causal judgments. Why not instead point to the indisputable fact that things change and therefore this change must have a cause? Inquiring minds want to know.

I’m feeling pretty demoralized this evening, so the only thing to do is try and distract myself so I don’t have to think about things.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about transcendental arguments and their status. I have written this post a few times already in the past, but like a person working through a trauma who must repeat it endlessly in the form of nightmares or neurotic symptoms, I believe I must go over this ground once again. And if I must repeat, then this is because I am myself a reformed transcendental idealist who must therefore marshal arguments convincing to myself. In many respects, the transcendental argument is Kant’s central contribution to thought, his ultimate secret ninja judo move. Outside of philosophy I get the sense that there’s a lot of confusion as to what a transcendental argument is. I often hear it confused with an appeal to the transcendent. However, in many respects, the transcendent and the transcendental are opposites. When we appeal to, for example, Platonic forms to account for justice or to God to account for moral laws we are making an appeal to the transcendent or that which is beyond and independent of both the world and the subject or mind. Take the standard Platonic argument for the existence of the forms (and here I’m presenting a vulgar, cereal box version of Plato).

The argument runs something like this: When faced with all the the things to which justice pertains, we note that they are very different and share no resemblance to one another. For example, in what way do serving one’s function within the polis and getting a coke out of a coke machine when you put a dollar in the machine resemble one another. Both of these events are instances of justice, yet when we examine the properties or qualities of these events, we find no quality shared by the two. Similarly, when we enter into debates and discussions about justice, we seem to all approach justice in different ways. However, apart from the crassest Protagorean relativist, we all nonetheless agree that while we might not know what it is, there is a truth of the matter or fact of the matter concerning justice. In short, justice is not simply a subjective sentiment or opinion, but something real that exists in its own right. But what is this real thing that exists in its own right? Plato’s proposal is that the just is a form, a universal, that exists in its own right, independent of all instances of the just and all opinions about the just. The form of the just is ideal, but its ideality is not a subjective ideality. Indeed, as Derrida likes to point out, the ideal is the most objective of all. It is neither an object in the world (a material object), nor an idea in the mind (a subjective entity), but an ideal entity that is entirely real, eternal, universal, and so on. For Plato, even if all humans ceased to exist, even if there were no individual objects in the world, the form of the just would continue to exist for all eternity. The forms are thus transcendent to subjects and objects. They are the most real things of all.

read on because having arguments for abstruse and abstract issues is concretely important!

A Crude and Inadequate Outline of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason

The following is a brief outline of Kant’s first Critique for those who are not particularly familiar with it. Feel free to skip this post if you’re already familiar with the role that the dialectic plays in his project. The next post will deal with what I call the “onticological dialectic” which examines exo-relations among objects or inter-object relations and proposes “categories” for formally representing these relations.

In the Critique of Pure Reason Kant divides the Critique into two main parts: The Transcendental Doctrine of Elements and the Transcendental Dialectic. The Transcendental Doctrine of Elements is divided into the Transcendental Aesthetic and the Transcendental Analytic. The Transcendental Aesthetic is concerned not with art, but with the a priori conditions of receptivity or sensibility. Thus, where the empiricists had restricted themselves to a posteriori sensations or impressions (colors, tastes, sounds, etc), Kant shows that there are certain features of our knowledge that can only be rendered coherent if we presuppose a transcendental form of sensibility or an a priori form of intuition. In short, unlike my experience of the color red which I can only come to know a posteriori through experiencing it (I cannot come to know it, for example, by reading about red), transcendental sensibility would not be an intuition or sensation that we receive from the world but would be, as Kant’s famous thesis runs, something that our mind imposes on the world giving the sensible the structure that it possesses. These transcendental forms of intuition– in contrast to what Kant refers to as the “matter of intuition” or “content of intuition”, i.e., sensations –are, of course, time and space. If Kant is led to claim that time and space must be imposed on the world by mind rather than learned through experience, then this is because he can see no other way in which it is possible to account for the universality of arithmetic (based on, according to Kant, time) and geometry (based on space). In other words, a discrete sensation gives me no reason to suppose that it must always be connected in a particular way (the red of an apple connected to the taste of its sweetness). Yet mathematics is different. In the case of mathematics we begin from the premise that 2 + 2 will always equal four, and that the square of the hypotenuse of a right triangle will always equal the sum of the square of its other two sides. In what way is this universality grounded? Certainly not in sensation. Kant’s ingenious thesis is thus that the mind imposes time and space on the world. In this way he can show that temporal and spatial relationships must always be organized in the same way.

In contrast to transcendental intuition or sensibility, the transcendental analytic deals with concepts. Years before, in his New Essays on the Human Understanding and elsewhere, Leibniz had already shown that there is a difference in kind between intuitions (or sense-experience) and concepts. Suppose, asks Leibniz, you see a pile of one million and fifty three toothpicks laying on the floor. Your perception of the toothpicks, claims Leibniz, is vague and confused. You do not see one million and fifty three toothpicks, but rather see many, a lot, or a jumble. My perception of the toothpicks is vague and indeterminate. By contrast, my concept of one million and fifty three toothpicks is absolutely precise. I know exactly how many it is without any remaining obscurity.

This is one of those brief yet brilliant moments in the history of philosophy. Leibniz uses this simple argument to refute Locke’s thesis that all knowledge arises from sensation. What he claims to show is that there is a difference in kind between sensible representations and conceptual representations, such that the one cannot be derived from the other. Kant, a former Leibnizian, takes something like this distinction over in the Critique of Pure Reason. Where the domain of intuition is the domain of receptivity, the domain of concepts is that of spontaneity, i.e., we can manipulate them at will and are not restricted to receiving a sensation to use them. Moreover, where intuitions are a matter that we receive, concepts are a pure form without a content. Just as Kant had distinguished between empirical sensation and transcendental intuition (the forms of time and space), in the transcendental analytic Kant distinguishes between empirical concepts and transcendental concepts. Transcendental concepts are a priori, originate in and from the mind, and are pre-requisites for any judgment whatsoever about the world. Kant cites twelve a priori concepts in all.

The purpose of the transcendental doctrine of elements is to determine those a priori structures of cognition necessary for the possibility of synthetic a priori judgments and experience. The remainder of the first half of the Critique deals with how these concepts, the pure forms of intuition, and the matter of sensibility are synthesized together to form the judgments upon which natural science and mathematics are based.

Matters shift with the transcendental dialectic. The transcendental dialectic serves both a negative or critical function, and a positive function. Kant’s famous thesis is that in order for experience to be possible there must be a synthesis of concepts and intuitions. Where reason uses the concepts of the understanding independent of intuition, it falls into a very specific sort of illusion that he refers to as “transcendental illusions”. One of the aims of the transcendental dialectic, then, is to diagnose these illusions and show how they can be resolved. Kant’s magnificent achievement was to show how the major debates of the history philosophy arose from this tendency of reason to use the categories or concepts of the understanding independent of intuition.

However, the dialectic is not simply negative or therapeutic in its ambition. On the one hand, why is it, Kant wonders, that reason is compelled to fall into these illusions of reason (he refers to them as inevitable or unavoidable)? Might reason have a higher vocation beyond simply leading us into illusion? On the other hand, so long as we remain at the level of understanding and intuition, we only get piecemeal knowledge. I make the judgment that heat causes fire to boil, that if I bisect a rectangle I get two right triangles, and so on. Like The Guinness Book of World Records, judgment at the level of understanding yields only trivia. Here we get one of the vocations of reason. Where understanding makes particular judgments, reason unifies judgments into a system or a totality. Kant argues that there are three Ideas of Reason: Ideas pertaining to the soul or the paralogisms, Ideas pertaining to the world as a totality or whole, and Ideas pertaining to God.

These Ideas– in distinction to concepts or categories –are, Kant tells us, problems. They are problems that pertain to a drive for unity and systematicity. Were I to remain at the level of understanding with respect to my self, my identity would remain fragmented and piecemeal. The paralogisms pertaining to the substantiality of the soul are thus an issue of forming one’s life as a unity, a totality, a whole where one’s experiences are integrated. Were I to remain at the level of discrete experiences at the level of my relationship to the world, I would not be driven to form knowledge into a coherent system or totality… A theory where all things are allotted a place. And finally, in my Idea of God I am driven to both discover the origins of the universe, to perpetually search for new and deeper causes, and the purpose or the interrelationship among things in the universe. For example, while nature is not itself teleological, I must nonetheless think teleologically to understand the interrelationship among parts in an organism and the relationship among organisms within an ecosystem.

For Kant there is thus a virtuous dimension to reason. Reason presents understanding with irresolvable problems that lead it to search for unity, causes, systematicity, and so on. Kant refers to this dimension of reason as the unrest of reason. Reason is a torment, an unrest, shared by the artist and the scientist alike. It is the unrest that torments the artist with the question of what unifies their art or what threads tie together the diverse novels she has written or which paintings she has painted. As a result of this unrest, she is perpetually driven on to create the next artwork, the one that would be the final artwork, or the work that would make clear, once and for all, what it was she was trying to do all this time. This, of course, is always doomed to failure. Likewise, reason is the unrest of the scientist striving to unify all the data that she’s collected, trying to organize it into a theory or a system and trying to make sense of the inconsistencies within that body of research. Like the artist, the scientist dreams of the final theory, the GUT, the ToE, that would complete the set and unify all the elements. Like the artist this pursuit is doomed to failure, but this unrest propels her research ever onwards, leading to new theorizations, new models, the search for causes to unexplained elements, and the search for new data. For Kant, reason is virtuous when it maintains this unrest and vice when it concludes it.

The key point to take away from Kant’s transcendental dialectic, beyond the unrest of reason, is that whereas understanding is about discrete judgments (“heat causes water to boil”), reason is about relationships among things. It is the drive to relate. Understanding separates. Reason relates. At the level of the paralogisms, it seeks the red thread that unites the experiences of a life or a Person. It is the auto-synthesis of the subject in the subject’s self-relation to himself. At the level of the antinomies, it is the search for ever deeper and more fundamental causes and the drive towards the systematization of nature in a total theory.

I have been pretty outspoken on my hostility of accounts of mind that follow the Kantian model. Regardless of where one sides with respect to the realist/anti-realist debate, I still think we’re going to discover that functionalist models of mind are mistaken. In other words, in my view it is still possible for someone to be an anti-realist while rejecting a functionalist model of thought. There is, for example, an anti-realist version of Deleuze that is currently gaining steam through the work of folks like my buddy Joe Hughes. My Difference and Givenness is partially responsible for this reading of Deleuze due to my emphasis on Deleuze’s debt to German idealism through figures like Kant, Maimon, and Schelling. Under this reading, the dispute between Kant and Deleuze is not a dispute between anti-realism and realism, but rather over the role of categories in cognition. For Kant we cannot properly account for the nature of our cognition without positing a priori categories through which intuition or sensibility is synthesized and organized. By contrast, Deleuze, following Solomon Maimon, argues 1) that Kant is unable to provide a non-circular account of how it is possible to synthesize a pure concept with a concrete intuition (the schema just says that such a mediator must exist– the famous time-determinations of the categories –not how it is possible), and 2) that the organization of our experience is instead an emergent result of a differential unconscious, not unlike the role played by Leibniz’s “insensible perceptions” in his New Essays on the Human Understanding.

This debate is not a rarefied philosophical debate between Kant and Deleuze, but rather has a number of implications outside of philosophy. Clearly if one sides with Deleuze, then functionalist accounts of mind such as we find in Fodor with his “language of thought” or Chomsky with his “deep” or “universal grammar” will be unacceptable. At any rate, in response to my post “Taking Problems Seriously“, Rob and I have been having a bit of a debate regarding Chomsky and functionalist accounts of mind. Rob contends that there are mountains of experimental evidence for Chomsky’s linguistics, though this is not the impression that I’ve gotten (i.e., Chomsky and the Chomskyians, as I understand it, are primarily theoretical linguistics that then interpret data according to their model, not unlike the manner in which Friedmannian economists proceed). However, I am certainly no expert on these issues. At any rate, the anthropologist Timothy Mason of Paris VIII has been kind enough to compile a list of links with critical perspectives on Chomsky. Enjoy!

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