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.
If twenty jumbo jets crashed in a single day, social uproar would ensue. Yet the same number of children – six thousand – die every day due to water-related diseases as a result of inadequate sanitation (Lester 2007: 21). A plane crash is a visceral, disturbingly violent and terrifying death, but also exceedingly uncommon. The latter is a normalised out of sight, out of mind anaesthetised affair for most Western citizens.