Originally broadcast on Dutch TV in 1971. Full text.
For what it’s worth, Chomsky’s response to Foucault’s argument against human nature would have been easily answered by Foucault. Chomsky says we have a decision to make, make a stand for Human Nature or against it – his argument for it is contained within an analogy to Vietnam. He says, we can choose to act or not. This put’s the response in a consequentialist framework, which asks, ‘what is better? To act or not to act? Of course, his analysis says acting in Vietnam was better to not acting, by corollary picking human nature is better than not.
Given the consequentialist framework surrounding the answer, I believe Foucault’s previous arguments in the interview answer it. He explains the tragedies and mass murders that result from claiming human nature (Mao’s belief of a bourgeois nature). Thus, clearly in Chomsky’s own view, picking human nature is not better given the amount of deaths that result from it.
But, was it ever a surprise that Foucault was going to win that debate?
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