The Chomsky-Foucault Debate

Tonight we'll talk about our reactions to the Chomsky-Foucault debate (details on the debate are below).

It can be viewed here (you can select English captions through settings at bottom): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myy3vL-QKI4

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"In 1971, with the Vietnam war in full swing and radical social movements destabilizing the social, political and cultural order throughout the Western world, Dutch philosopher Fons Elders invited two of the world’s leading thinkers — the American linguist and activist Noam Chomsky and the French social theorist Michel Foucault — to debate a thorny and perennial question: is there such a thing as an “innate” human nature, and if so, what are its implications for our ideas about power, justice, revolution, and the shape of the ideal human society?

The resulting dialogue has been described as one of the most original, provocative, and spontaneous exchanges to have occurred between contemporary philosophers, and above all serves as a concise introduction to their basic theories. What begins as a philosophical argument rooted in linguistics (Chomsky) and the theory of knowledge (Foucault), soon evolves into a broader discussion encompassing a wide range of topics, from science, history, and behaviorism to creativity, freedom, and the struggle for justice in the realm of politics.

Hoping to puncture the prim sobriety of the Dutch audience, the program’s host, Fons Elders, a professed anarchist, had obtained a bright red wig, which he tried, unsuccessfully, to convince Foucault to wear. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Chomsky, Foucault had received, in partial payment for his appearance, a large chunk of hashish, which for months afterwards, Foucault and his Parisian friends would jokingly refer to as the 'Chomsky hash.' "

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  • Frank

    Regrets I won't be able to make it. Had a very late night last night (I can't go into the details but it was very carnal & satisfying). I must balance my hedonism with stoicism to guide me to epicureanism. Peace. See you soon.

    1 · June 5, 2013

  • Dan

    Here's one with better subtitles:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wfNl2L0Gf8

    1 · June 2, 2013

  • Eric

    Here's an English transcription: http://www.chomsky.info/debates/1971xxxx.htm

    1 · May 30, 2013

  • Gary L.

    Might be able to come, because it is sure to be stimulating.

    May 30, 2013

  • London C.

    The captions weren't working for me: they came up as mashed-together Asian characters. Anyone getting them to work? I'd love to watch this.

    May 30, 2013

  • Frank

    It's been a while since I've attended. But looking forward to it.

    May 30, 2013

    • Brian

      awesome welcome back frank

      May 30, 2013

  • Vanessa

    ..sweet!

    1 · May 30, 2013

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