Zero Squared #146: Chomsky Responds

Chris Knight is currently senior research fellow in the department of anthropology at University College, London, focusing his research on the evolutionary emergence of human language and symbolic culture. He lives in London. His book Decoding Chomsky came out from Yale University Press in 2016 and was recently released in paperback.

Since the book first dropped Chomsky has read it and has responded. Chomsky wrote:

Knight makes an assumption common to those who [are] unfamiliar with government science-technology policy and know nothing about institutions like MIT…The whole story is a wreck.

If you haven’t already you might pick up a copy of Marx Returns by Jason Barker or get ahold of Angela Nagle’s Kill All Normies which was recently selected as one of the top ten books of 2017 by the novelist George Saunders.

Special thanks goes out to Al Mousseau this week as he was the one who edited this week’s podcast.

Zero Squared #145: Thaddeus Russell against Rationalism

Thaddeus Russell is a historian, author, and professor. He has taught history, American Studies, and the history of philosophy at Columbia University, Barnard College, and the New School for Social Research. He is also the host of the Unregistered Podcast and the guest on this week’s podcast. While we start off discussing the anti-SJW industry and Russell’s own encounters with it, we quickly veer off into a conversation about Capitalism, Foucault, whether rationalism is necessarily imperialist, Sam Harris, Noam Chomsky and a variety of other topics. The pull quote from this episode is probably near the end of this first half of the conversation when Russell says something like, “Wait, I’m not finished. I’m building a total refutation of the entirety of what you think, Doug.”

I want to thank James T, Jason R, Andrew F, Matt S, and R for becoming patrons in the last few days. They along with 200 hundred other Patrons of the Inside Zero Books podcast are making the expansion of Zero Books’ digital content production possible. And I also want to remind listeners that if you enjoy this podcast, especially if you enjoy this conversation with Thaddeus, you might want to become patrons of Inside Zero Books this week as the second half of this conversation is coming out for members only this weekend.

If you haven’t already you might pick up a copy of Marx Returns by Jason Barker or get ahold of Angela Nagle’s Kill All Normies which was recently selected as one of the top ten books of 2017 by the novelist George Saunders. Or, if you’ve had enough of Nagle and want to re-embrace the call out culture you can get yourself a copy of Shaun Scott’s Millennials and the Moments that Made Us which was published by Zero Books in February.

Symptomatic Redness: Marxism and Religion

Symptomatic Redness is a show about political economics and historical analysis. Hosted by C. Derick Varn and Amogh Sahu the show is sometimes a dialogue between the hosts and sometimes features interviews with activists and academics.

This month’s Symptomatic Redness features a conversation about Marx and Marxism’s relationship with religion. The podcast circles around the questions

Does Marxism have a coherent ethics?
Does Marxism have a theory of consciousness?
And to what extent is Marx or Marxism guilty of idealism?

This is the first half of a nearly two hour conversation. The second half of this podcast will be made available through our Patreon membership site.

22 Feb 2018, 6:38am
Zero Squared


Zero Squared #144: How to Read a History Book

Perhaps in the current climate, I shouldn’t admit this, but this week’s guest Marshall Poe has lived in the USSR and Russia, his academic specialty being Russian History. He later spent a decade teaching at Harvard University, before leaving academia to take a position at The Atlantic Monthly. Since then he founded the New Books Network. He is also the author of the book How to Read a History Book which came out last month from Zero.

I wanted to thank Dave DD and a YouTuber named Subconscious qualms as well as some people at a Chomsky Reddit group for arguing with me after I posted the last Zero Books video about Noam Chomsky and Slavoj Zizek. I especially want to thank the guys at Reddit because they pointed out that while I interpreted Chomsky’s ontological position as being neo-Kantian, they pointed out that Chomsky has, in the past, to be a neutral monist. Looking into it a bit I see that neutral monism makes Chomsky, at least in some ways, more aligned with Spinoza than with Kant. However, given Chomsky’s emphasis on understanding the innate structures of cognition and, specifically, language, I would dare to say that his metaphysics are probably not quite aligned with Spinoza either.

The truth is I haven’t quite backed off from my original estimation of the consequences of Chomsky’s position but I do realize that the question of his metaphysics is more interesting than I originally realized. It seems to me that Chomsky’s position is difficult as any continental philosopher’s and I do have to admit that nobody has quite been able to explain them to me in any way I can fully understand.

If you’re looking for a good book to read on the topics I recently covered on Zero Books’ youtube channel you might check out Frank Smecker’s Night of the World. Also, you might subscribe to the Zero Books youtube channel to see how my engagement with Chomsky develops and to see how the videos improve. I’ve been talking to an animation studio in London called Pixel8 on getting a cut-rate deal on their services and I’m able to get that help because of patrons like Dylan H, Jack H, Muke, Patrick K, Sahir P, and 190 others. If you’d like to help Zero Books expand its digital content production or if you just want to hear the second half of this week’s podcast with Marshall Poe you should become a Patreon subscriber to the Inside Zero Books podcast. When we reach 400 patrons we’ll be hiring another helping hand to improve our podcasts.

The music you’re listening to right now is Adios Nonino by Astor Piazzolla but in just a moment you’ll be listening to Marshall Poe and I discuss How to Read a History Book.