American Philosophical Society
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1Name:  Dr. Noam Chomsky
 Institution:  University of Arizona
 Year Elected:  2004
 Class:  3. Social Sciences
 Subdivision:  305
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1928
Noam Chomsky is currently Laureate Professor of Linguistics, Agnese Nelms Haury Chair at the University of Arizona, having moved from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall of 2017. He has created a theory of generative grammar that unites formal analysis of natural language with the search for explanatory models in linguistics, and has adapted that theory to the description of individual languages. Dr. Chomsky holds that grammar represents the speaker's tacit knowledge of the language and so must be part of the mind/brain structure. He has argued that children learning a first language do not receive sufficient information to account for the knowledge they come to have; hence some knowledge of language must be genetically determined as part of a species-universal faculty of mind he calls Universal Grammar. For over 50 years Dr. Chomsky served on the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; he has held the title of Institute Professor since 1976. When he left, he held the title of Institute Professor Emeritus and Professor of Linguistics Emeritus and had just won the 2016 Peace Abbey Foundation Courage of Conscience Award. He is the author of numerous works, including Syntactic Structures (1957); Current Issues in Linguistic Theory (1964); Language and Mind (1968); Linguistic Theory (1975); Knowledge of Language (1986); The Minimalist Program (1995); and On Nature and Language (2002). Dr. Chomsky is also well known for his political activism, from his 1967 essay "The Responsibility of Intellectuals" to more recent explorations of media control, terrorism, anarchism and democracy. His 2003 book Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance received considerable attention following a recommendation from Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez during his 2006 speech at the United Nations. According to the Arts and Humanities Citation Index, between 1980 and 1992 Dr. Chomsky was cited as a source more often than any other living scholar, and the eighth most cited scholar overall. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Election Year
2004 (1)