Noam Chomsky

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Noam Chomsky, 2015

Avram Noam Chomsky [ ˈævɹəm ˈnoʊəm ˈtʃɒmski ] (born December 7, 1928 in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , USA ) is professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the world's best-known left-wing intellectuals and one of the most prominent critics since the 1960s of US politics.

Chomsky is one of the most famous linguists of our time. By combining the scientific disciplines of linguistics, cognitive sciences and computer science, he exerted a strong influence on their development, especially in the second half of the 20th century. His contributions to general linguistics and his models of generative transformation grammar changed the US structuralism that had prevailed until then . His criticism of behaviorism fueled the rise of cognitive science.

From the 1960s and 1970s, Chomsky was often present in political and scientific discourse in the mass media . Since his criticism of the Vietnam War , he has repeatedly appeared as a sharp critic of US foreign and economic policy and became known worldwide as a critic of capitalism and globalization . His most important media theoretical work included the development of the theory of the propaganda model together with Edward S. Herman . He describes himself as a libertarian socialist with sympathy for anarcho-syndicalism , is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World and the International Organization for a Participatory Society (IOPC).

According to the 1992 Arts and Humanities Citation Index , Chomsky was the most cited living person in the world between 1980 and 1992 .


Chomsky, 1977

Chomsky was born on December 7, 1928 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA to Jewish parents ; his mother was Elsie Simonofsky, his father the Hebrew William Chomsky . In 1945 he began to study philosophy and linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania . His teachers included the linguist Zellig S. Harris and the philosopher Nelson Goodman . Chomsky's anarchist beliefs emerged as early as the 1940s. The confrontation with anarchism in Spain during the civil war was of importance .

Even if Chomsky himself is not religious, he sees “benevolent” forms of religiosity compatible with anarchist ideology.

In the early 1950s, Chomsky studied for a few years at Harvard University . In 1955 he received his doctorate in linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania . His dissertation Transformational Analysis was part of a large-scale early work in which he began to develop some of the ideas that he elaborated in his 1957 book Syntactic Structures , one of the most famous works in linguistics. The book is an abbreviated, reworked excerpt from a far more extensive work entitled The Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory , which he wrote during his time at Harvard in the early 1950s , in which he introduced transformational grammar .

After receiving his doctorate, Chomsky first taught as an assistant professor, then from 1961 as a full professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology . In the 1960s, his revolutionary linguistic work was recognized worldwide, and he has been one of the most important theorists in this field ever since.

Noam Chomsky was married to the linguist Carol Chomsky (1930-2008) from 1949 until her death . His oldest daughter is the Latin American scientist Aviva Chomsky . Chomsky has been married to Valeria Wasserman for the second time since 2014.

Academic work

Noam Chomsky, 2005

The formalization of natural languages ​​had long been known in linguistics, but it was Noam Chomsky who recursively defined the individual language expressions with the help of a metalanguage . The classes of grammars derived from the metalanguage can be divided into a hierarchy that is now called the Chomsky hierarchy . His work represents a milestone for linguistics.

Formal languages and the Chomsky hierarchy also play an important role in computer science , especially in complexity theory and in compiler construction . Together with the work of Alan Turing , they establish a separate area in mathematics and make structural areas and formalisms of natural languages ​​accessible to mathematical consideration, with the result, among other things, that machine translations are in principle possible.

The mathematical formalization of natural languages ​​laid the foundations for computational linguistics and the machine language translation project. Chomsky's theories themselves quickly came under fire after it was proven that the generative transformation grammar is Turing-complete and thus not finite workable. In response, Chomsky restricted the properties of his grammar using so-called barriers . These and later grammar theories such as Government and Binding and the Minimalist Program are not mathematically formalized and thus only play one role in computational linguistics, alongside unification-based grammars such as Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG) and Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG) subordinate role.

Noam Chomsky has been a leading leftist critic of US foreign policy since 1965. His lectures are not only published in books, but some are also published on CDs , for example on Jello Biafra's label Alternative Tentacles .

Together with Edward S. Herman , Chomsky tried to explain in the propaganda model how the mass media in the capitalist environment organize reporting in such a way that the interests of the government and the upper class are protected.

Contributions to linguistics

Chomsky opposes the behaviorist theory of language acquisition (see the Poverty-of-the-Stimulus argument ), which assumes that language acquisition occurs solely through a learning process . In contrast, his theory states that a language is learned through the development of innate abilities. He calls this innate language acquisition mechanism the Language Acquisition Device (LAD) . As proof Chomsky introduced the concept of a universal grammar one that is based on the assumption that all languages a universal grammar is common, possess the every person because it is innate. With this, Chomsky identifies himself as a representative of philosophical mentalism , the tradition of which goes back to René Descartes . At the same time, he became a pioneer in biolinguistics .

Chomsky's theory is based on utterances such as words, phrases and sentences and relates them to surface structures that themselves correspond to more abstract deep structures . Transformation rules, together with the rules for the structure of phrases and other structural principles, determine both the generation and the interpretation of utterances. With a limited set of grammatical rules and a limited number of words, an unlimited number of sentences can be formed, including those that have never been said before. The ability to structure utterance in this way is innate and thus part of the human genetic program. This is the idea of ​​universal grammar and is derived by Chomsky from Cartesian linguistics . Such structural principles are generally just as unconscious as most biological and cognitive properties.

Chomsky's linguistic theories went through different stages, which are usually named in the specialist literature after Chomsky's paradigm-setting publications:

Chomsky's current theories (since the MP in the early 1990s) place strict requirements on universal grammar. The grammatical principles to which languages ​​are subject are fixed and innate; The difference between the world languages ​​can be characterized by setting parameters in the brain, which is often compared to switches (for example the prodrop parameter, which indicates whether an explicit subject is always required, as in English or German - -prodrop , or es as can be omitted in Spanish or Italian - + prodrop ). Depending on these parameters, languages ​​have grammatical properties that do not have to be learned. A child learning a language only needs to acquire the necessary lexical units (words) and morphemes and set the parameters to suitable values, which can be done with just a few examples.

Chomsky's approach is motivated by several observations. At first he was amazed at the speed at which children learn languages. He also found that children around the world learn to speak in a similar way. Eventually, he noticed that children make certain typical mistakes when they learn their first language, whereas other, obviously logical mistakes, do not occur.

Chomsky's ideas have had a strong influence on the study of child language acquisition (see Chomsky's and Fodor's conception of the innate modularity of the mind ). Most scientists working in this field, however, reject Chomsky's theories and prefer emergence or connectionism theories , which are based on general processing mechanisms in the brain. Ultimately, practically all linguistic theories remain controversial, and the study of language acquisition continues from a Chomsky perspective.

Generative grammar

Chomsky's syntactic analyzes are often highly abstract. They are based on the careful examination of the boundary between grammatical and ungrammatical patterns in concrete languages ​​(compare the so-called pathological case , which plays a similarly important role in mathematics). In fact, such grammatical decisions can only be made by native speakers. For this reason, linguists mostly concentrate on their own mother tongue, so that, especially in the early stages of the theory, the accusation was raised by the language typology that the model was too focused on the structure of English and other European languages.

Chomsky hierarchy

Regardless of the extent to which his findings are key to understanding language, Chomsky is famous for his studies of formal languages . The Chomsky hierarchy divides formal grammar into classes of increasing expressiveness. Each subsequent class can lead to a wider set of formal languages ​​than the previous one. He takes the view that the description of some aspects of language requires a more complex formal grammar in the sense of the Chomsky hierarchy than the description of other aspects. For example, a regular language is sufficient to describe the English morphology , but is not strong enough to also describe the English syntax . In addition to its importance for linguistics, the Chomsky hierarchy has become an important element of theoretical computer science , especially compiler construction , as it has significant connections and isomorphisms in the direction of automaton theory .

Criticism of Chomsky's linguistics

Chomsky's work on linguistics has become famous, but has not remained without criticism: Generative semantics , developed by his student George Lakoff as an alternative to interpretative semantics , gave rise to the public debate between the Chomsky and Lakoff camps known as The Linguistics Wars the 1960s and 1970s, which developed into a dispute over theories of cognitive science and computer science. As a result - in tension with Chomsky's point of view - Lakoff, Mark Johnson u. a. the Cognitive Linguistics . In particular, Lakoff and Johnson deny the correctness of the Neocartesian approaches that Chomsky uses in his theory, and argue that he is unable to account for the extent to which perception can be represented at all.

Within linguistics, Chomsky's transformational grammar (as well as George Lakoff's Generative Semantics ) is criticized primarily on the part of pragmatics - with reference to Ludwig Wittgenstein's view that the meaning of a word is the same as its use - because it has variable meanings of words and depending on the context and speaking situation Does not want or cannot model sentences in a mathematically adequate manner. Here the fundamental question of the essence of language and the task of a grammar is touched upon. So deny z. B. Reference semantics, socio- and psycho-linguists the hypothesis of a universal basic language with an ideal speaker / listener and choose everyday language use as a starting point.

Chomsky's postulate (in connection with Jerry Fodor's representational theory of mind ) that his model not only depicts the basic system , but also uses the transformation rules to explain both the generation and the recognition of language, is supported by new research in the field of Cybernetics and cognitive science called into question. In artificial intelligence research, a model was developed that is no longer based on the control system of a conventional computer, but rather simulates cognitive abilities as a system of interaction between many networked building blocks - regardless of a specific implementation of a syntax . Since the brain is capable of intensive parallel processing, the generative transformation grammar approach loses its foundation from this perspective . Apart from that, further developed structural models such as the head-driven phrase structure grammar dispense entirely with transformation rules.

Like the position of the connectivists , some of the more recent trends in psychology , such as discourse psychology or the situated cognition of constructivist cognitive science , contradict Chomsky's views. At the latest since the development of constructivist concepts on the basis of new cognitive / neurological findings, it has been assumed that there is no speaker-listener idealization in reality, but that each individual speaker / listener within a framework of a cybernetic process from childhood on his socialization and speaking / listening are individually filtered. In addition to successful communication, there is unwanted and conscious deception (lies, concealment through vagueness of expression, persuasion and other manipulations). These phenomena, that ambiguous or ambiguous utterances are understood differently by different listeners, cannot be captured with the methods of generative grammars.

Philosophers in the tradition of Ludwig Wittgenstein, such as Saul Kripke , criticize that Chomskians fundamentally misjudge the role of rule-based human perception. Similarly, philosophers of phenomenological, existential and hermeneutic traditions contradict the abstract, rationalistic aspect of Chomsky's thought structure.

Contributions to psychology

Chomsky's linguistic work also influenced the development of psychology in the 20th century. His theory of a universal grammar was a direct attack on the established behaviorist theories of the day and had a profound impact on the scientific understanding of child language acquisition and the human ability to interpret language.

In 1959, Chomsky published his criticism of BF Skinner's Verbal Behavior . With Skinner, one of the leading behaviorists treated the phenomenon of language as linguistic behavior (English verbal behavior ). This behavior, Skinner says, can be reinforced like any other behavior - from wagging a dog's tail to introducing a piano virtuoso .

Chomsky's criticism of Skinner's work was one of the triggers for the so-called cognitive turn in psychology. In his book Cartesian Linguistics from 1967 and other subsequent work, Chomsky developed an explanation of human language ability that also served as a model for investigations in other areas of psychology. There are three main ideas to be noted here.

First, Chomsky argues, mind is cognitive. This means that mental states, beliefs, doubts, etc. are actually included. Earlier views rejected this, arguing that it was just a matter of cause-and-effect relationships. Second, he claims that much of what the adult mind can do is innate. No child would be born who already spoke a language, but all of them would be born with the ability to acquire a language, which would even allow them to absorb several languages ​​in just a few years. In linguistics, this thesis is also known as linguistic mentalism . Psychologists extended the thesis far beyond the field of language. Marc Hauser, for example, a former psychologist at Harvard University , assumes on the basis of Chomsky's research that people, similar to the language instinct, are also born with certain moral instincts. The mind of the newborn is no longer seen as a blank slate. With this, Chomsky and his successors contradict the thesis, which has long been advocated by empiricists in philosophy, among other things , that “nothing is in the mind that was not previously in the senses”, which means that people see people as tabula rasa at their birth . Finally, from the concept of modularity, Chomsky develops a decisive characteristic of the cognitive architecture of the mind. The mind is said to be composed of a collection of specialized subsystems that work together and that only communicate with one another to a limited extent. This notion is very different from the old idea that any piece of information in the mind can be accessed by any other cognitive process. Many aspects of the current concept of the functioning of the mind spring directly from ideas that were first authored in Chomsky.

Political commitment

Noam Chomsky speaking for the Occupy Wall Street movement, 2011

Noam Chomsky has built his reputation as a political dissident . In the 1960s, Chomsky began to articulate himself more politically in public. Since 1964 he has protested against what he called the "attack on South Vietnam" in Vietnam and criticized the fact that the US called it the war in Vietnam .

In 1969 he published America and the New Mandarins , a collection of essays on the Vietnam War that influenced the anti-war movement. Just as clearly referring Chomsky stand against the US policy and the role of the media in relation to Cuba , Haiti , East Timor , Nicaragua , the Middle East conflict and against " rogue states " and to the second Gulf - and the Kosovo war , the issue of human rights to Globalization and the neoliberal world order. Today, in addition to its still undisputed importance for linguistics, it has become one of the most important critics of US foreign policy, the political world order and the power of the mass media. Chomsky stated that his "personal visions are traditionally anarchist, with origins from the Enlightenment and classical liberalism ".

In the New York Times Book Review , Chomsky was once called "the most important intellectuals of the present". Noam Chomsky: “The quote was published by a publishing house . But you should always read it very carefully: If you look up the original, then it goes on to say: If this is the case, how can he write such nonsense about American foreign policy? This addition is never quoted. But to be honest: if it didn't exist, I would think I'm doing something wrong. "

With regard to his political literature, Noam Chomsky is considered to be the “most cited outsider in the world” and one of the forerunners and thought leaders of the criticism of globalization .

In 2001, Chomsky gave the band Rage Against the Machine, known for their political commitment, an interview on politics in Mexico, which was published on their DVD and VHS for the concert The Battle of Mexico City .

In 2008, Chomsky supported the independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader , but called on the electorate in the Swing States to vote for Barack Obama and against John McCain , which earned him criticism from the anarchists.

Chomsky has been supporting the Free Gaza Movement since 2008 , which he describes as a “brave and necessary endeavor”. In May 2010 he wanted to travel to the Israeli-occupied West Bank over the Allenby Bridge to give a lecture at Bir Zait University . After four hours of interrogation, Chomsky was refused entry by the Israeli border authorities. A government spokesman later said the entry ban was a misunderstanding. Chomsky had previously given numerous lectures at Israeli universities. In 2013 he was one of the academics calling on Stephen Hawking to cancel his participation in a conference in Israel. In September 2019, together with around 300 cultural workers, he criticized the city of Dortmund for awarding the Nelly Sachs Prize to the writer Kamila Shamsie because of her support for the controversial BDS campaign ( Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel), which the jury did not discuss was informed, had revoked. The jury had revoked their decision because Shamsie's position was in conflict with the statutes of the award and the spirit of the Nelly Sachs Prize.

In August 2013, Chomsky was associated with the publication 10 Strategies of Manipulation , a listing of ways to control societies . The Frenchman Sylvain Timsit is named as an alternative author .

Noam Chomsky supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primaries for the US presidency . During the actual election campaign, he spoke out against Donald Trump and recommended that Hillary Clinton be elected. Even after Trump's election victory, he clearly positioned himself, calling it “greater evil” and characterizing him in an interview in 2020 as a “ sociopathic buffoon ”, who does not represent any real ideology, but above all be busy with yourself. In an interview in November 2016, he warned that the Republican Party under Trump had become the most dangerous organization in world history and that it was organizing destruction, alluding to the party's climate change deniers speed up human life.

Noam Chomsky is a signatory of the declaration published in 2017 on the common language of Croats , Serbs , Bosniaks and Montenegrins .

Chomsky takes an active part in the public debate about ways out of the climate crisis . He is a co-signer of an open letter published in December 2018, in which politicians have failed to address the crisis and called on people to refrain from consuming and to join movements like Extinction Rebellion .

Faurisson controversy

In the early 1980s, a controversy arose, especially in France, when, in the fall of 1979, at the request of Serge Thion , a Holocaust denier who had been active since 1978 , Chomsky had signed a petition in defense of the freedom of speech by the French literature professor and neo-Nazi Robert Faurisson . Faurisson had denied the existence of gas chambers in the Third Reich in two articles published in Le Monde in 1978 and 1979 and was thereupon sentenced to three months suspended prison sentence and a fine of 21,000 francs (3,200 euros) for defamation and incitement to racial hatred . Chomsky pointed out that although his own conclusions about the Holocaust were contrary to Faurisson's and even if it was true that Faurisson was an anti-Semite and a neo-Nazi , he was still campaigning for his freedom of speech . Furthermore, Chomsky noted that it was a centuries-old truism that it is precisely in cases of "heinous thoughts" that one must stand up for the right to express them freely - because it is too easy to claim this right only for those who do not already have any needed such defense.

Chomsky published this admission in an essay on freedom of speech and allowed it to be freely used by anyone, after which Faurisson used the text as a preface to his book. This caused renewed sensation and the charge that Faurisson had allowed the use of his essay. The historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet also accused Chomsky of having "corresponded amicably" with Faurisson, contrary to his assurances, and of not having opposed the writing of a foreword to his own text by the well-known Holocaust denier Pierre Guillaume .

In September 2010, Chomsky performed in front of an 1,800-person auditorium in Paris to continue advocating freedom of the press and freedom of expression for Robert Faurissons. At this point in time he also signed a declaration of solidarity with another Holocaust denier, Vincent Reynouard , who was imprisoned at the time, admitting that he did not know his writings but was fundamentally against the principle of Loi Gayssot .

Surveillance by intelligence services

Noam Chomsky, Amy Goodman and Glenn Greenwald (2011)

Although investigative reporter John Hudson concluded in February 2013, at the end of his two years of research, that the CIA had no files on Chomsky, Foreign Policy magazine revealed in August that the CIA was dealing with Chomsky through a request through the Freedom of Information Act also became active in the US domestic market. A memo to the at the time still of J. Edgar Hoover led FBI has investigations that were operated in 1970 due to a trip to North Korea.

Reception outside of linguistics

In the Norton Lectures of 1973/74 and in the resulting book The Unanswered Question from 1976, (English: Music - the open question , 1982) Leonard Bernstein dealt with Noam Chomsky's linguistic work in relation to music and music theory.

Reception in Germany

Chomsky's political writings first appeared prominently in Germany with Suhrkamp-Verlag; A critical anthology by Chomsky and Edward S. Herman on imperialism was published by Oberbaum Verlag in Berlin in 1975, and in 1981 Ullstein published a translation of a French book with interviews by Mitsou Ronat under the title Language and Responsibility . Suhrkamp now limited himself to anthropological and linguistic work. The political Chomsky, quite comparable to its reception in the USA, went from smaller left-wing publishing houses such as Argument-Verlag (Berlin), to Klampen (Lüneburg), Pendo (Zurich), Mink (Berlin) and, above all, from Nevertheless-Verlag and represented his magazines ( Schwarzer Faden , Dinge Der Zeit ) until the movement critical of globalization introduced him to broader media again towards the end of the 1990s (e.g. Europa-Verlag ).

Chomsky's linguistic work had a boom in pedagogy in the 1970s, with them polarizing school grammar and educational or scientific linguistics. On the other hand, with his affirmative positions on Descartes on the one hand and with his appeal to Wilhelm von Humboldt on the other, he found himself in many ideological and subject-specific traditions contested. His positions on artificial intelligence are felt similarly between the camps, where he is understood both as the father of computational linguistics and as an idealistic opponent of computerization .

Awards and memberships

Chomsky has been awarded honorary doctorates from a variety of universities:

In addition, he was honored with the following awards and memberships:

The Comskee programming language, developed in 1986, was named after him.



A full list of scientific publications can be found on Chomsky's website at MIT .

Political works

Excerpts from some of his books are available on Chomsky's website linked below.


  • American Power and the New Mandarines. Historical and Political Essays Pantheon Books, New York 1969.
    • America and the new mandarins. Political and contemporary essays. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt a. M. 1969. Translation: Anna Kamp.
  • At War with Asia. Pantheon, New York 1970.
  • Two Essays on Cambodia. 1970
    • At war with Asia. 2 volumes: Indochina and the American crisis ; Cambodia, Laos, North Vietnam . Translation: Jürgen Behrens. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1972.
    • The responsibility of the intellectuals. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt a. M. 1971.
  • Problems of Knowledge and Freedom. The Russell Lectures . Pantheon, New York 1971. The Bertrand Russell Memorial Lectures, Cambridge, 1971.
    • About knowledge and freedom. Lectures in honor of Bertrand Russell . Translation: Gerd Lingrün. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt a. M. 1973
  • with Edward S. Herman: Counter-Revolutionary Evidence: Bloodbaths in Fact and Propaganda . Warner Modular Publications, Module No. 57, Andover, MA 1973.
    • with Edward S. Herman: Massacre in the Name of Freedom. Atrocities and atrocity propaganda by US imperialism . Oberbaum, Berlin 1975.
  • For Reasons of State . Pantheon, New York 1973.
    • For reasons of state . Partial translation by Burkhart Kroeber. Frankfurt a. M. 1974.
  • Peace in the Middle East? Reflections on Justice and Nationhood . Pantheon, New York 1974
  • Intellectuals and the State . 1976.
  • Dialogues with Mitsou Ronat . Flammarion, Dialogues , Paris 1977.
    • Language and Responsibility . Translation: John Quarters. Harvester Press, Hassocks 1979.
    • Language and responsibility. Conversations with Mitsou Ronat . Translation: Eva Brückner-Pfaffenberger. Ullstein, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Vienna 1981.
  • "Human Rights" and American Foreign Policy. Spokesman Books, Nottingham 1978. ISBN 0-85124-201-4 .
  • with Edward S. Herman: The Political Economics of Human Rights . 2 volumes. Volume I: The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism . Volume II: After the Cataclysm: Postwar Indochina and the Reconstruction of Imperial Ideology . South End Press, Boston 1979
  • Radical priorities . Black Rose, Montreal 1982.
  • with Jonathan Steele, John Gittings: Superpowers in Collision: The Cold War Now . 1982.
  • Towards a New Cold War: Essays on the Current Crisis and How We Got There . Pantheon, New York 1982.
  • The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians . South End Press, Boston 1983. Revised 1999.
  • Responses inédites à mes détracteurs Parisiens . Spartacus, Paris 1984
  • Turning the Tide: US Intervention in Central America and the Struggle for Peace . South End Press, Boston 1985.
  • Pirates & Emperors: International Terrorism in the Real World . Claremont Research and Publications, New York 1986. Expanded Edition: South End Press, Cambridge 2003.
    • Pirates and emperors: Terrorism in the “new world order” . Translation: Horst Rosenberger. Nevertheless publishing house, Frankfurt a. M. 2004
  • The Race to Destruction: Its Rational Base . 1986.
  • On Power and Ideology: The Managua Lectures . South End Press, Boston 1987
    • The fifth freedom. About power and ideology. Lectures in Managua . Translation: Michael Haupt. Argument, Berlin 1988.
  • The Culture of Terrorism . South End Press, Boson 1988
  • Language and Politics . Black Rose, Montreal 1988.
    • Language and politics . Translation: Michael Schiffmann. Philo Verlag 1999.
  • with Edward S. Herman: Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. Pantheon, New York 1988. ISBN 0-375-71449-9 .
  • Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies . South End Press, Boston 1989.
  • Deterring Democracy . Hill and Wang, New York 1992.
    • with Howard Zinn a. a .: The new world order and the Gulf War. Nevertheless publisher, Grafenau 1992. ISBN 3-922209-37-8 .
  • Year 501: The Conquest Continues . South End Press, Boston 1993.
    • Economy and violence . Translation: Michael Haupt. zu Klampen, Lüneburg 1993.
  • World Orders Old and New. Columbia University Press, New York 1994.
    • New world orders. From colonialism to the Big Mac . Translation: Michael Haupt. Europa Verlag, Hamburg 2004. ISBN 3-203-76009-6 .
  • Powers and Prospects: Reflections on Human Nature and the Social Order . South End Press, Boston 1996.
  • Media Control. The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda . Seven Stories Press, 1997. New edition 2002.
    • Media Control. How the media manipulate us . Translation: Michael Haupt. Europa Verlag, Hamburg 2003. ISBN 3-203-76015-0 .
  • The New Military Humanism: Lessons from Kosovo . Common Courage Press, Monroe, Me. 1999. ISBN 1-56751-177-5 . ** The new military humanism. Lessons from Kosovo . edition 8, Zurich 2000. ISBN 3-85990-027-7
  • Profit over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order. Seven Stories Press, New York 1999. ISBN 1-888363-82-7 .
    • Profit over People - neoliberalism and global world order . Translation: Michael Haupt. Europa Verlag, Hamburg 2000. ISBN 3-203-76010-X (German)
  • The Fateful Triangle. The United States, Israel & the Palestinians . 1999. (First edition 1983)
    • Open wound Middle East. Israel, the Palestinians and US politics. Translated by Michael Haupt. Europa, Hamburg 2002, 2003. ISBN 3-203-76017-7
  • Rogue States: The Rule of Force in World Affairs South End Press, Cambridge 2000, ISBN 0-89608-611-9 .
    • Was against people. Human rights and rogue states . Translated by Michael Haupt. Europa, Hamburg 2001, ISBN 3-203-76011-8 .
  • 9-11 . Seven Stories Press, New York 2001, ISBN 1-58322-489-0 ; udT September 11 : Allen & Unwin , Sydney 2001 ISBN 978-1-86508-818-1
  • Hegemony or Survival. Metropolitan Books, New York 2003.
    • Hubris. The ultimate assurance of the US's global supremacy. Translated by Michael Haupt. Europa, Hamburg 2003. ISBN 3-203-76016-9 .
  • Power and Terror. Post 9/11 Talks and Interviews. Seven Stories Press, New York 2003.
    • Power and Terror. US weapons, human rights, and international terrorism. Translation: Michael Haupt. Europa Verlag, Hamburg 2004. ISBN 3-203-76008-8 .
  • Peter Mitchell, John Schieffel (Eds.): Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky. New Press, o. O. 2002. ISBN 1-56584-703-2 .
    • An anatomy of power. The Chomsky Reader. Europa Verlag, Hamburg 2004. ISBN 3-203-76007-X
  • Government in the Future . Seven Stories Press. 2005. An old lecture from February 16, 1970 at the Poetry Center, New York.
    • The Future of the State - From Classical Liberalism to Libertarian Socialism. Translation: Michael Schiffmann. Schwarzer Freitag Verlag, Berlin 2005. ISBN 3-937623-34-5
  • Barry Pateman (Ed.): Chomsky on Anarchism . AK Press, 2005. ISBN 1-904859-20-8 .
  • Failed states. The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy . Metropolitan Books, 2006. ISBN 0-8050-7912-2 .
  • Intervention . City Lights Books, 2007
  • Anthony Arnove (Ed.): The Essential Chomsky . Vintage, New York 2008.
    • The responsibility of the intellectuals. Central writings on politics . Translation: Collective ready for printing. Verlag Antje Kunstmann, Munich 2008. ISBN 978-3-88897-527-1 .
  • Occupy - Occupied Media Pamphlet Service. Zuccotti Park Press, Brooklyn 1st edition May 1, 2012. ISBN 978-1-884519-01-7 ;
  • with Andre Vltchek On Western Terrorism: From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare. Pluto Press, London 2013. ISBN 978-0-7453-3387-8 .
  • Masters of Mankind: Essays and Lectures, 1969-2013. Haymarket Books, London 2014, ISBN 1-60846-363-X .
    • The masters of the world: essays and speeches from five decades. Translation: Gregor Kneussel. Promedia Verlag, Vienna 2014, ISBN 978-3-85371-367-9 .
  • Because we say so. City Lights Books, San Francisco 2015, ISBN 978-0-87286-657-7 .
    • Because we say so. Texts against American world domination in the 21st century. Translation: Gregor Kneussel. Promedia Verlag, Vienna 2015, ISBN 978-3-85371-393-8 .
  • Profit Over People, War Against People "" Neoliberalism and global order, human rights and rogue states. Piper Verlag, Munich 2006, ISBN 978-3-492-24652-1 .
  • What Kind of Creatures Are We? . Columbia University Press , (2015). ISBN 978-0-231-17596-8 .
  • Who Rules the World? . Henry Holt & Co, New York 2016, ISBN 978-1-62779-381-0 .
  • Noam Chomsky & Andre Vltchek: The Terrorism of the Western World : From Hiroshima to the Drone Wars , Unrast-Verlag Münster 2017, ISBN 978-3-89771-066-5 .
  • Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth and Power. Verlag Antje Kunstmann , Munich 2017, ISBN 978-3-95614-201-7 .
  • Fight or Doom! Why we have to stand up against the masters of humanity (Noam Chomsky in conversation with Emran Feroz), Frankfurt am Main 2018, ISBN 978-3-86489-233-2 .


  • “Notes on anarchism” in: Out of state reason. Frankfurt 1974, pp. 104-121.
  • Disinformation and the Gulf War. in: Schwarzer Faden . Grafenau 12.1991, No. 40. ISSN  0722-8988
  • David Barsamian: It is a barbarization of daily life that is spreading. Noam Chomsky interview. Translation: Andi Ries. in: Schwarzer Faden. Grafenau 13.1992, No. 43. ISSN  0722-8988
  • Seen from below. in: things of the time. Grafenau 1992, No. 55.
  • The year 501 - Old and New World Order. in: Schwarzer Faden. Grafenau 1993, No. 45 + 47. ISSN  0722-8988
  • The agreement between Israel and Arafat. Translation: Wolfgang Haug. In: Things of the Time. Grafenau 1994, No. 56/57.
  • Goals and visions. Translation: Michael Schiffmann. in: Schwarzer Faden. Grafenau 1997, No. 60. ISSN  0722-8988
  • Neoliberalism and Global World Order. in: things of the time. Grafenau 1997, No. 58/59.
  • Assumed consent - discourse on democracy. in: Schwarzer Faden. Grafenau 1998, No. 6. ISSN  0722-8988
  • With our help. Interview by Suzy Hanson about the "War on Terrorism". in: Schwarzer Faden . Grafenau 2002, No. 74. ISSN  0722-8988
  • Did Bush Lie? in: Schwarzer Faden. Grafenau 2004, No. 77. ISSN  0722-8988

See also



  • Mark Achbar (Ed.): Noam Chomsky - Ways to Intellectual Self-Defense - Fabrication of Consensus. German translation by Helmut Richter. Nevertheless publisher , Frankfurt am Main u. Marino Verlag, Munich 1996
  • David Barsamian (Ed.): Propaganda and the Public Mind. Conversations with Noam Chomsky. Pluto Press, London 2001, ISBN 0-7453-1788-X .
  • Robert F. Barsky: Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent. MIT Press, o. O. 1998, ISBN 0-262-52255-1 .
    • German edition: Noam Chomsky - Libertarian lateral thinker. Edition 8, Zurich 1999, ISBN 3-85990-012-9 .
  • Peter Collier, David Horovitz (Eds.): The Anti-Chomsky Reader. Encounter Books, New York 2004, ISBN 1-893554-97-X .
  • Alison Edgley: The social and political thought of Noam Chomsky. Routledge, London 2001, ISBN 0-415-20586-7 .
  • Günther Grewendorf: Noam Chomsky. Biography, work analysis, reception, timetable, bibliography. Beck, Munich 2006, ISBN 978-3-406-54111-7 .
  • John Lyons : Noam Chomsky. Collins, London 1970
    • German edition: Noam Chomsky. German translation by Manfred Immler. DTV, Munich 1971
  • EFK Koerner , Matsuji Tajima : Noam Chomsky: A personal bibliography, 1951–1986. John Benjamin, Amsterdam / Philadelphia 1986.
  • Saussurean Studies
  • Larissa MacFarquhar, Michael Haupt: Who is Noam Chomsky? Europa Verlag, Hamburg / Vienna 2003, ISBN 3-203-76018-5 .
  • Chris Knight: Decoding Chomsky: Science and Revolutionary Politics , Yale University Press, 2018.
  • Fight or Doom! Noam Chomsky in conversation with Emran Feroz. Westend Verlag GmbH, Frankfurt / M. 2018, ISBN 978-3-86489-233-2 .

Articles and essays

  • Pat Flanagan: Chomsky Anarchism. In: Schwarzer Faden No. 8, 1982
  • Wolfgang Haug : Disappearance in the memory hole. At the Carl von Ossietzky award ceremony to Noam Chomsky. In: Schwarzer Faden, No. 77, 2004, also online
  • John Pilger: Noam Chomsky - a biographical sketch for his 70th birthday. In: Schwarzer Faden No. 66, 1998
  • Aurel Schmidt: Noam Chomsky and the facts. In: Basler Zeitung Magazin, November 9, 1996
  • Christiane Müller-Lobeck: Uncle Noam . Review of "What kind of creatures are we?" In: the daily newspaper . April 23, 2012.


  • The consensus factory. Noam Chomsky und die Medien (Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media) , directed by Mark Achbar, Peter Wintonick, Canada 1992
  • Power and Terror. Noam Chomsky. Talks after 9/11. Directed by John Junkermann, Japan 2003
  • Noam Chomsky: Rebel Without a Pause. (TV), directed by Will Pascoe, 2003
  • The Corporation , directed by Mark Achbar, Canada 2003
  • L'Encerclement - La démocratie dans les rets du néolibéralisme. / Encirclement - Neo-Liberalism Ensnares Democracy. (French / English) Director: Richard Brouillette, Canada 2008
  • The Kingdom of Survival , directed by MA Littler , USA-Germany 2010
  • Truth in Numbers? Everything according to Wikipedia , directed by Nic Hill, Scott Glosserman, USA 2010
  • Four Horsemen , directed by Ross Ashcroft, GB 2012
  • Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? , 2013, animated documentary by Michel Gondry
  • Requiem for the American Dream , directed by Kelly Nyks, Jared P. Scott and Peter D. Hutchison, USA 2015

Media and TV appearances (selection)


  • 2005 Illegal but Legitimate a Dubious Doctrine for the Times , The University of Edinburgh Gifford Lectures 2004/05 (United Kingdom, Scotland, University of Edinburgh, McEwan Hall; May 22, 2005; 83 minutes)

Discussions / interviews

  • 1971 Noam Chomsky vs. Michel Foucault Human Nature Justice vs. Power (Netherlands; Nederlandse televisie; 1971; approx. 12 minutes)
  • 2002 Noam Chomsky - On Iraq War (United Kingdom, England, London, St Paul's Cathedral ; BBC; December 2002; approx. 18 minutes; moderator: Francine Stock )
  • 2006 Noam Chomsky on Charlie Rose (United States of America; June 9, 2006; approx. 55 minutes; moderator: Charlie Rose )
  • 2015 Noam Chomsky in conversation with Michael Hesse: "It was a mistake to let Obama's rhetoric lull you" . In: Frankfurter Rundschau of September 11, 2015, pp. 30–31.
  • 2018 Noam Chomsky - Linguist. Anarchist. Pop star. Diagonal - Radio for Contemporaries , Ö1 , November 24, 2018

Web links

Commons : Noam Chomsky  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Political contributions
Criticism of Chomsky

Individual evidence

  1. IWW Biography. Industrial Workers of the World, accessed October 1, 2012 .
  2. International Organization for a Participatory Society (IOPC) . Accessed December 6, 2012.
  3. Sperlich, Wolfgang B .: Noam Chomsky . Reaction Books, London 2006, ISBN 978-1-86189-269-0 , pp. 69 .
  4. "Carol Chomsky died" . In: Die Berliner Literaturkritik , December 22, 2008.
  5. "Carol Chomsky; at 78; Harvard professor language what wife of MIT linguist " , The Boston Globe , December 20, 2008
  6. Snježana Kordić : Transformacijsko-generativni pristup jeziku u "Sintaktičkim Strukturama" i "Aspectima teorije sintakse" Noama Chomskog . In: SOL: lingvistički časopis . tape 6 , no. 12-13 , 1991, ISSN  0352-8715 , HEBIS 173969364 , pp. 105 ( PDF file; 868 kB [accessed July 2, 2013]).
  7. Chomsky, Noam: Cartesian Linguistics. A chapter in the history of rationalism . Tübingen 1971. Translation (R. Kruse) by Chomsky, Noam: Cartesian linguistics: a chapter in the history of rationalist thought . University Press of America, Lanham, Maryland 1965. Reprint: University Press, Cambridge 2009.
  8. Jerrold J. Katz and Jerry A. Fodor: The structure of a semantic theory . In: Hugo Steger (Ed.): Suggestions for a structural grammar of German . Darmstadt 1970.
  9. Noam Chomsky: aspects of syntactic theory (Translation of: Aspects of the Theory of Syntax , 1965). Frankfurt 1969.
  10. George Lakoff: Linguistics and Natural Logic . Frankfurt 1971.
  11. Jerry Fodor: The Language of Thought. 1975.
  12. What the Chomsky-Žižek debate tells us about Snowden's NSA revelations . Quote: "Noam Chomsky has built his entire reputation as a political dissident on his command of the facts. His writings resemble powerful weapons of empirical data." The Guardian . 11 August 2013.
  13. ^ Donald Macintyre. Chomsky refused entry into West Bank . Quote: "Noam Chomsky, the internationally renowned philosopher and leading dissident US intellectual, was yesterday stopped by Israeli immigration officials from entering the West Bank to deliver a lecture." The Independent . 17 May 2010.
  14. DAVID MCNEILL. Noam Chomsky: Truth to power (English). Quote: "Often dubbed one of the world's most important intellectuals and its leading public dissident, Noam Chomsky was for years among the top 10 most quoted academics on the planet, edged out only by William Shakespeare, Karl Marx, Aristotle." The Japan Times . 22 February 2014
  15. ^ Noam Chomsky: Powers and Prospects - Reflections on Human Nature and the Social Order, 1996, p. 71. Excerpt available online
  16. From a speech in the documentation Manufacturing Consent .
  17. Freegaza - Endorsers
  18. Guillotining Gaza by Noam Chomsky
  19. Entry ban for teachers and those who laugh ( memento from April 15, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) , Jüdische Zeitung (Berlin) , June 2010
  20. Noam Chomsky helped lobby Stephen Hawking to stage Israel boycott (article on, May 10, 2013)
  21. Open letter supported by Kamila Shamsie , Deutschlandfunk, September 24, 2019
  22. ^ Controversy over criticism of Israel , Zeit online, September 26, 2019
  23. "10 Strategies of Manipulation" revisited , Telepolis . Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  24. 10 strategies to manipulate society , Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  25. Noam Chomsky: Coronavirus - What is at stake? | DiEM25 TV. YouTube video, accessed July 6, 2020 .
  26. Deirdre Fulton: Those Who Failed to Recognize Trump as 'Greater Evil' Made a 'Bad Mistake': Chomsky. Commondreams, November 25, 2016, accessed November 26, 2016 .
  27. Vučić, Nikola: Noam Chomsky signed the declaration on the common language . In: N1 televizija . Sarajevo March 27, 2018 ( [accessed May 9, 2019] Serbo-Croatian: Noam Chomsky potpisao Deklaraciju o zajedničkom jeziku .). (Archived on WebCite ( Memento from May 4, 2018 on WebCite ))
  28. Act now to prevent an environmental catastrophe. The Guardian, December 9, 2018, accessed January 22, 2019 .
  30. ^ Didier Daeninckx : Le négationniste habite au CNRS. April 13, 2000, archived from the original on July 23, 2011 ; Retrieved December 19, 2015 (French).
  31. Jürg Altwegg: Noam Chomsky and the reality of the gas chambers. Time online , November 21, 2012
  32. ^ His right to say it. Chomsky's Response to the Faurisson Affair. Retrieved July 14, 2009
  33. ^ Pierre Vidal-Naquet: De Faurisson et de Chomsky. June 2, 1987, accessed October 1, 2012 (French). . - Faurisson: Mémoire et defense contre ceux qui m'accusent de falsifier l'Histoire. La question des chambres à gaz. Précédé d'un avis de N. Ch. La Vieille Taupe, Paris 1980
  34. FAZ from September 15, 2010, page 31
  35. ^ "Chomsky se risque encore dans le bourbier des négationnistes" ,, September 12, 2010
  36. The CIA has nothing on Noam Chomsky (no, really) , Foreign Policy - Website. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  37. ^ CIA, despite claims to the contrary, kept Chomsky files , Telepolis . Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  38. ^ Uppsala University's Honorary Doctorates in Commemoration of Linnaeus. Uppsala University, February 13, 2007, archived from the original on February 24, 2015 ; Retrieved October 1, 2012 .
  39. Noam Chomsky lectured in Beijing., December 12, 2010, accessed August 16, 2011 .
  40. ^ Welcome to Peking University., August 13, 2010, archived from the original on August 3, 2011 ; accessed on August 16, 2011 .
  41. ^ Member Directory: A. Noam Chomsky. National Academy of Sciences, accessed January 15, 2018 .
  42. APA: Winner of the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions (English)
  43. "The Disappearance in the Memory Hole" ( memento from September 27, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), laudation by Wolfgang Haug , 2004
  44. ^ Member History: Noam Chomsky. American Philosophical Society, accessed January 15, 2018 (with a short biography).
  45. Der Spiegel, issue 41 of October 6, 2008, p. 182
  46. ^ East Timorese government website: Professor Noam Chomsky and Ambassador Robert Van Lierop honored in New York City , accessed October 4, 2015.
  47. ^ Review by Fritz J. Raddatz in: Die Zeit , October 19, 2000.
  48. Review by Ludwig Watzal in: FAZ , March 3, 2000
  49. excellent overview, detailed references and footnotes
  50. Video recording of the lecture on YouTube
  51. Noam Chomsky - Linguist. Anarchist. Pop star. Diagonal to the person of Noam Chomsky. Radio Ö1, November 24, 2018