Noam Chomsky

American linguist and activist (born 1928)

Avram Noam Chomsky (born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist, philosopher, political activist, author, and lecturer. He was an Institute Professor and professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky

(1928-12-07) December 7, 1928 (age 95)
Era20th / 21st-century philosophy
RegionWestern Philosophy
Main interests
Linguistics · Psychology
Philosophy of language
Politics · Ethics
Notable ideas
Generative grammar



Chomsky created the theory of generative grammar. This is one of the most important contributions to the field of linguistics made in the 20th century. He also helped start the cognitive revolution in psychology through his review of B. F. Skinner's Verbal Behavior. He challenged the behaviorist way of looking at behavior and language. This was the main approach used in the 1950s. His natural approach to the study of language also changed the philosophy of language and mind. He also invented the Chomsky hierarchy, a way of looking at formal languages in terms of their power to explain language.

According to the Arts and Humanities Citation Index in 1992, Chomsky was cited as a source more often than any other living scholar during the 1980–1992 time period. He was the eighth-most cited scholar in any time period.[1][2][3]



In the 1960s he criticized the Vietnam War. Because of that, Chomsky became more widely known for his media criticism and politics. He is a key intellectual figure within the left wing of United States politics. Chomsky is widely known for his political activism, and for his criticism of capitalism and the foreign policy of the United States and other governments. Chomsky often calls himself a libertarian socialist and an anarcho-syndicalist, and he has talked and written extensively on these subjects. He is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, following his father William Chomsky who was also a member.[4]

In late 2015, Chomsky announced his support for Vermont U.S. senator Bernie Sanders in the upcoming 2016 United States presidential election.[5]



Chomsky had a massive stroke in June 2023 and was hospitalized in São Paulo, Brazil.[6] His wife talked about his health issues a year late in June 2024, where he remained hospitalized in Brazil.[7]

  1. "Chomsky is citation champ". MIT News Office. 1992-04-15. Archived from the original on 2014-02-23. Retrieved 2007-09-03.
  2. Hughes, Samuel. "Speech!". The Pennsylvania Gazette. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-09-03. According to a recent survey by the Institute for Scientific Information, only Marx, Lenin, Shakespeare, Aristotle, the Bible, Plato, and Freud are cited more often in academic journals than Chomsky, who edges out Hegel and Cicero.
  3. Robinson, Paul (1979-02-25). "The Chomsky Problem". The New York Times. Judged in terms of the power, range, novelty and influence of his thought, Noam Chomsky is arguably the most important intellectual alive today. He is also a disturbingly divided intellectual.
  4. Stirner, Max (April 2012). "Noam Chomsky & Workers' Control" (PDF). Sparks. p. 22. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-01-20. Retrieved 2012-12-18.
  5. Lewis, Paul (June 19, 2015). "Inside the mind of Bernie Sanders: unbowed, unchanged, and unafraid of a good fight". The Guardian. London. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on January 17, 2016. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  6. Maira Butt (10 June 2024). "Noam Chomsky, 95, 'no longer able to talk' after famed intellectual suffered 'medical event'". The Independent. Retrieved 11 June 2024.
  7. "Linguist and activist Noam Chomsky hospitalized in his wife's native country of Brazil after stroke". AP News. 11 June 2024. Retrieved 11 June 2024.



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