The Human Revolution (Symposium on the Evolution of Language)

Let me begin with a self-evident point, perhaps too often taken for granted. When academics participate in conferences and debates, we find ourselves operating under the rule of law. Protocols exist. We must disclose our sources, expose ourselves to criticism and renounce any temptation to use threats, material inducements or force. There is status competition, certainly. But the status of our output is determined on an intellectual basis by peer evaluation alone; we compete to demonstrate relevance in others’ eyes… Download The Human Revolution (Symposium on the Evolution of Language) in PDF format [348KB]

Is There Life on Mars?

Ourselves alone?

Is there anyone out there? Our science correspondent Dr. Chris Knight refuses to go extraterrestrial.

HEADLINES across the world during August reported the shattering news: there was once life on Mars! The evidence consisted of strange microscopic ovoid structures in a meteorite discovered in Antarctica. The American journal Science had hardly appeared when President Clinton hailed the scientific discovery as perhaps the greatest in all human history.

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Language and Revolutionary Consciousness


From the outset, ‘spirit’ is cursed with the ‘burden’ of matter, which appears in this case in the form of agitated layers of air, sounds, in short, of language. Language is as old as consciousness, language is practical consciousness, as it exists for other men, and thus as it really exists for myself as well. Language, like consciousness, only arises from the need, the necessity of intercourse with other men.

(Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels 1845-6/1963: 85-6)

7.1 Chomsky’s Model

Replying to his many critics, Chomsky (1979: 57) once accused them of not understanding science. To do science, Chomsky explained, ‘you must abstract some object of study, you must eliminate those factors which are not pertinent…’ The linguist — according to Chomsky — cannot study humans articulating their thoughts under concrete social conditions. Instead, you must replace reality with an abstract model. To deny this is to reject science altogether. Continue reading “Language and Revolutionary Consciousness”