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JK refutes Kamm on Chomsky's linguistics - gets threatened

 
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joe emersberger



Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Posts: 513
Location: Windsor, Onatrio, Canada

Post Post subject: JK refutes Kamm on Chomsky's linguistics - gets threatened Reply with quote

[JK writes below]

In short, as you probably already know, Kamm's Standpoint article and his blog entry on Chomsky's linguistic theory) is extremely misleading. In it Kamm tries to show that Chomsky's reputation as an amazing linguist is 'overrated'. He also claims that Chomsky' s work is no longer that important because Scholars 'once close to him', such as Pinker, have moved away 'from important elements in his work'. I pointed out that he was wrong to cite Pinker as an ally because the most salient point is that Pinker still totally agrees with the most important tenet of Chomsky's work. Pinker agreed with me and attached an article he'd recently written for Discover Magazine (see thread below). Pinker's conclusion completely contradicts Kamm. '(Chomsky) remains the world's most important linguist'. The replies that I have received from Kamm and his collaborator, Prof Borsley are rather prevaricate, in my opinion.

[Kamm's legal threats prompted the posting of this synopsis that avoided direct quotes

Below is the threat alluded to above. JE]
***

A reply from Steven Pinker that refutes Kamm's claims!
Posted by JK (ashenton) on December 26, 2008, 10:35 pm

I've just received a reply from Steven Pinker that reveals that Kamm is wrong to cite him as an ally in his attack on Chomsky. I've forwarded Pinker's comments to the eds. Hopefully they will paste them here for me along with the exchanges I've had with Kamm's supporter, Professor Bob Borsley.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I've also sent Pinker's comments to Kamm
Posted by JK (ashenton) on December 26, 2008, 11:26 pm, in reply to "A reply from Steven Pinker that refutes Kamm's claims!"

I've asked him to post Pinker's Chomsky tribute (email attachment), in full, on his website. I mean, he wouldn't want to deliberately mislead his readers now, would he? He's suddenly become rather taciturn!

--Previous Message--
: I've just received a reply from Steven Pinker
: that reveals that Kamm is wrong to cite him
: as an ally in his attack on Chomsky. I've
: forwarded Pinker's comments to the eds.
: Hopefully they will paste them here for me
: along with the exchanges I've had with
: Kamm's supporter, Professor Bob Borsley.
:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Could someone please help?!
Posted by JK (ashenton) on December 27, 2008, 12:32 am, in reply to "A reply from Steven Pinker that refutes Kamm's claims!"

In 'Discover' Magazine Pinker has written a piece titled 'An appreciation of Chomsky.' It's available online. Could someone please post here?

--Previous Message--
: I've just received a reply from Steven Pinker
: that reveals that Kamm is wrong to cite him
: as an ally in his attack on Chomsky. I've
: forwarded Pinker's comments to the eds.
: Hopefully they will paste them here for me
: along with the exchanges I've had with
: Kamm's supporter, Professor Bob Borsley.
:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This it?
Posted by Ken Waldron on December 27, 2008, 3:09 am, in reply to "Could someone please help?!"


An appreciation of Chomsky by Steven Pinker, professor of psychology at Harvard University and author of The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window Into Human Nature:

Noam Chomsky stands in the tradition of the great Enlightenment thinkers who combined a sweeping intellectual vision with meticulous technical analyses. He revived a rationalist conception of human nature in which the mind is richly endowed with creative powers at a time when behaviorism ruled and “innate” was a dirty word.

He showed that languages have an elegant mathematical structure, which set a research agenda for linguistics, psychology, and computer science for decades to come, namely, “What are the computations that allow a language to be learned and used?” And he uncovered countless intriguing phenomena of language itself. Who would have guessed that sentences as similar as “He appeared to Lisa to be brave” and “He appealed to Lisa to be brave” would have opposite meanings?

Chomsky is also a polemicist, spawning both steadfast disciples and implacable enemies. Some scholars find his theories overly abstruse and disconnected from biology. Yet despite having another life as a prolific activist, he remains, on the brink of his 80th birthday, the world’s most influential working linguist.

http://discovermagazine.com/2008/dec/01-he-found-innate-humanity-in-the-human-brain

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, thank you so much, Ken...My mobile won't let me c&p...
Posted by JK (ashenton) on December 27, 2008, 6:19 am, in reply to "This it?"

It's the piece that Pinker sent me as an attachment. It completey destroys Kamm's claims (see his blog entry titled 'Chomsky's linguistic theory'), especially the last sentence. He should post this article on his blog. His readers deserve to know that he misrepresented Pinker's views in his rancorous attack on chomsky! because he misled

--Previous Message--
:
: An appreciation of Chomsky by Steven Pinker,
: professor of psychology at Harvard
: University and author of The Stuff of
: Thought: Language as a Window Into Human
: Nature:
:
: Noam Chomsky stands in the tradition of the
: great Enlightenment thinkers who combined a
: sweeping intellectual vision with meticulous
: technical analyses. He revived a rationalist
: conception of human nature in which the mind
: is richly endowed with creative powers at a
: time when behaviorism ruled and "innate" was
: a dirty word.
:
: He showed that languages have an elegant
: mathematical structure, which set a research
: agenda for linguistics, psychology, and
: computer science for decades to come,
: namely, "What are the computations that
: allow a language to be learned and used?"
: And he uncovered countless intriguing
: phenomena of language itself. Who would have
: guessed that sentences as similar as "He
: appeared to Lisa to be brave" and "He
: appealed to Lisa to be brave" would have
: opposite meanings?
:
: Chomsky is also a polemicist, spawning both
: steadfast disciples and implacable enemies.
: Some scholars find his theories overly
: abstruse and disconnected from biology. Yet
: despite having another life as a prolific
: activist, he remains, on the brink of his
: 80th birthday, the world's most influential
: working linguist.
:
:
: http://discovermagazine.com/2008/dec/01-he-found-innate-humanity-in-the-human-brain
:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

His stock response
Posted by John (monstera) on December 27, 2008, 2:04 pm, in reply to "Yes, thank you so much, Ken...My mobile won't let me c&p..."

(I paraphrase..) "If I've wanted to tell the truth, I would have done, but that's not what I set out to do when I wrote that piece".
Sat Dec 27, 2008 8:42 pm
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joe emersberger



Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Posts: 513
Location: Windsor, Onatrio, Canada

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought this would be a good place to file away another representative sample of Kamm's work.

He once wrote the following about Chomsky on his blog

***
"At the end of 2002, Chomsky spoke by video link to the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign on the subject of "Anti-Zionism, Zionism and the Palestinians". The link for the online transcript of this event is no longer current, but I noted at the time what Chomsky had said. He discussed antisemitism in the US, and concluded:

'You find occasional instances of anti-Semitism but they are marginal. There’s plenty of racism, but it’s directed against Blacks, Latinos, Arabs are targets of enormous racism, and those problems are real. Anti-Semitism is no longer a problem, fortunately. It’s raised, but it’s raised because privileged people want to make sure they have total control, not just 98% control. That’s why anti-Semitism is becoming an issue. Not because of the threat of anti-Semitism; they want to make sure there’s no critical look at the policies the US (and they themselves) support in the Middle East.'

As far as I can make out, Chomsky is arguing that Jews are already privileged but seek total control, and they throw around accusations of antisemitism in order to cover their tracks. "

***

From this one can conclude that Kamm

a) has appallingly poor reading skills (barley at elementary school level)

or

b) deliberately slandered Chomsky as a self hating Jew [Bear in mind that he claims to have read Chomsky extensively)

I think b is far more likely.
Tue Dec 30, 2008 2:54 pm
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