Discussion of "Language and Freedom" Essays

Discussion of "Language and Freedom" Essays

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"Language and Freedom," by Chomsky, basically follows many of Aristotle's guidelines for "observing ... the available means of persuasion."  Aristotle believes that there are three different kinds of persuasion which are "furnished by the spoken word" or, in other words, used in speech.  "The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker; the second on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind; the third on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of the speech itself."  One goal of the speaker, according to Artistotle, is to prove himself as a "good man" because we, as listeners, are more willing to listen and agree with these "good men."  Proving oneself as a "good man" should only be determined by what the speaker says during his speech, not what the speaker is previously known for.  Also, Aristotle believes that a speaker should stir the emotions of his audience.  An audience is more easily persuaded when it is "pleased and friendly" than when it is "pained and hostile."  Lastly, the speech itself is a very important mode of persuasion, especially when a truth or "apparent truth" has been proved by using persuasive arguments.  This, Aristotle believed, could be done by an individual who was capable of reasoning logically, understanding human character, and understanding human emotions.  Chomsky's basic thesis, as far a I can tell, seems to be that one can learn a great deal about human nature, human potential, and the organization of society by studying in depth the structure of human language.  He maintains that it is the use of language which sets humans apart from animals, which he defines as "merely an ingenious machine."  Chomsky argue...


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... logic extremely difficult to follow.  


Moreover, Chomsky heavy usage of Rosseau's and other people's writings seem to be a gimmick to garner support from his audience rather than convince them.  Few, if any premises are introduced by Chomsky himself.  Rather, he tends to borrow quotations from other sources.  As a matter of fact, Chomsky quotes a total of 140 lines from other philosophers and scholars.  Also, Chomsky tends to veer off on tangents whenever quoting someone, constantly forcing him to need to bring the listener back to his main subject.  According to Aristotle, Chomsky should take a quotation or an idea that he is proposing and back it up with persuasive facts enabling the audience to draw their own logical conclusions based on the simple road which Chomsky has drawn.  Unfortunately, Chomsky never drew a simple road.

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