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Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky 2011-04-07 002 (cropped).jpg
Born December 7, 1928 (1928-12-07) (age 92)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Era 20th / 21st-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Linguistics
Main interests
Linguistics · Psychology
Philosophy of language
Politics · Ethics
Notable ideas
Generative grammar

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


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.


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 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.

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

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