On Human Nature: the Chomsky-Foucault debate

March 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

The is the complete video of the 1971 debate between Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault. (via Aphelis.net)

In an article published in 1999 in the journal Social Theory and Practice, Peter Wilkin introduces the debate in the following way:

In 1971, Dutch television held a series of interviews and discussions with noted intellectuals of the day to discuss a wide range of issues regarding contemporary social and philosophical affairs. Perhaps the most significant of these encounters was the meeting between Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault. It brought together arguably the two most prominent Western intellectual-activists of the day in a debate that illustrates clearly the lineage of thought within which each writer is situated. Nominally the discussion was in two parts: the first an examination of the origins or production of knowledge, with particular concern for the natural sciences, the second explicitly focused on the role and practice of oppositional politics within Western capitalist
democracies—in part a response to the unfolding Vietnam War. (“Chomsky and Foucault on human nature : an essential difference?”Social Theory & Practice, 25 (2), pp. 177-210)

Online the complete English transcript is available at Chomsky.info under the original English title “Human Nature: Justice versus Power”. A copy of the transcript that was published in 1974 is also available at CriminyJicket.

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