Encyclopedia of Global Justice

2011 Edition
| Editors: Deen K. Chatterjee

Language and Politics

  • Robert P. Abele
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9160-5_209

Two contemporary philosophers stand out as having spent significant time on the subjects of language and politics: Noam Chomsky and Jürgen Habermas. Both thinkers focus their social analyses on the structure of language and its place in normative theory, and on the issues of freedom, capitalism, state power, and Marxism. While both focus considerable attention on these same few topics, their understanding of each differs, at some points significantly.

Chomsky views linguistic structure as biologically innate in humans (2004a: 128), and this in large measure not only is presupposed in linguistic performance, but actually makes such performance possible (1965: 8–9). Chomsky makes this claim even more radical by adding to it that morality is innate in humans in the same manner as is language (2004a: 210). This includes the “instinct for freedom” humans possess (2005: 155).

Chomsky moves from here to assert a near-total rejection of an intrinsic connection between language and politics,...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert P. Abele
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Humanities and PhilosophyDiablo Valley CollegePleasant HillUSA