In this essay I unpack Chomsky’s conception of human nature in the context of two famous debates. The first is a 1971 televised debate with Michel Foucault in which we can observe the post-structuralist mistrust of essentialist claims. The second is Chomsky’s debate with the empiricist and behaviourist W.V.O. Quine.
Where the previous essay examined Chomsky’s ontological claims regarding human nature, this essay seeks to show what underpins the normative claims he generates from this understanding. I first identify how the structural nature of Western societies is corrosive to human nature by examining Chomsky’s views on the institutions he has written most prolifically on: the state and the media.