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.

I’d just like to clarify what I said in this interview about Chomsky and MIT’s war research. The Pentagon funded two sorts of war-related research at MIT in the 1960s. Firstly, they funded the research needed to understand the basic scientific principles behind any potential weapons guidance systems. This research was done on-campus in labs such as Chomsky’s own lab, the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE). Secondly, they funded the development of this basic science into actual weapons systems at other, mostly off-campus, labs.

So, Chomsky did most of his linguistics research on campus at the RLE. Then, when this research was being developed into command-and-control languages for potential use by the US Air Force, Chomsky and his students worked for the MITRE Corporation. Chomsky acted as a consultant for the MITRE Corporation from 1963 to 1965.

So when Chomsky says that there was no on-campus war research at MIT, he is not so much lying; rather, he is seriously understating MIT’s deep involvement with the US military.

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