Re: text and links some might like to see

From: L. Manning Vines <>
Date: Sat Feb 01 2003 - 18:23:41 EST

Jim said: << It's expected that Chomsky wouldn't like Derrida. The question much? >>

Out of curiosity, Jim, would you tell me why it would be expected? I am
much more familiar with Chomsky's work with language than Derrida's, and all
I can guess for why you would expect that is that their approach to language
is very different, Chomsky being the originator of the theories of
"generative grammar" and concerning himself so much with the study of
language as a biological phenomenon, with roots in our genes and brains,
necessarily similar in all of us.

Is this why you would have expected it? Otherwise I don't follow.

Regarding the question of how much, my impression is that he thinks his
scholarship is usually poor, sometimes atrocious. I think that's about the
extent of it, though, and he is quoted in one of the links I posted as
saying that he should at least be read. He also describes himself as being
rather friendly with some of the others that he groups with Derrida (though
he is very critical of their scholarship), and having occasional and
friendly non-professional encounters with them. Somewhere, though I think
not in one the links I posted, he talks about having a pleasant walk and
nice conversation with Foucault, of whom I believe he is at least as
critical if not more than of Derrida. I have read transcripts of a
conversation the two of them had, (and maybe one with Lacan?) and on the
basis of their interaction there have tended to think that Chomsky wasn't
just patting himself on the back about that, but was sincerely diplomatic
and friendly.

Also: <<. . . I guess the real question is, "If it was so representative of
the philosophical community, why weren't there more signatures?" >>

I can't pretend to know the answer to that, but it does seem to me that one
wouldn't attempt to get masses of signatures on such a thing, but signatures
of a certain sort. The letter was, after all, written to be published in a

Then: << And, "Which schools of philosophy do the signatories represent?" >>

If you don't know the names, web searches on a few of them will most
probably turn something up. I, as you know, am much more familiar with
pre-20th century philosophy yet recognized quite a few of the names, and
recognized very well-regarded institutions where I didn't recognize names.
I'm sure information on the respective philosophers would not be hard to

And of course, somebody always needs to post the obligatory response that
reminds everyone of the "fact" that great minds are always opposed. In this
case in was John, and it was phrased as the even more dubious "fact" that
such opposition is a sure sign (one of the surest) of the worth of the work
in question. Surely nobody REALLY believes this. If it were true, of
course, then we ought to hold the work of holocaust deniers and conspiracy
theorists in much higher esteem.

Derrida might in fact be among the ranks of Galileo and Darwin, or he might
not be. In either case, opposition -- even indignation -- is not
necessarily a mark in his favor.

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Received on Sat Feb 1 18:24:20 2003

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