Zizek’s Response to Chomsky

I am reblogging this (one or two “gs”?) because I respect both men and I would hardly call either one of them “charlatans.” However, Chomsky is obviously a genius (in fact, I first heard of him through linguistics and had no notion of his political commentary) and Zizek is always very perceptive (except I can’t watch him and listen to him at the same time without fear of getting hit). It seems, however, to degenerate to the narrow point of what is the scientific method. I do believe that many Social Scientists suffer from “paradigm envy” and that their obsession with statistics is ludicrous, especially given how bad they are at it. Still, this is a worthwhile exchange between real thinkers, a rarity today.


Recently, there was an interesting dig made at Slavoj Zizek from Naom Chomsky which you can listen to here:

The gist is that Zizek and Lacan et al are ‘posturing charlatans’ using ‘fancy terms’ and pretending to have ‘theory’ when they have no theory whatsoever (by which he means scientific empirical testable conclusions).

You can hear Zizek’s response here (from 1hr 30mins in) at a recent panel at Birkbeck in London:


But here is an “non-authorized and not accurate transcription” transcript of his response which I have typed up because I think it points to some interesting arguments against certain types of empirical research and the importance of theory (read my comments on this debate here):

What is that about, again, the academy and Chomsky and so on? Well with all deep respect that I do have for Chomsky, my first point is that Chomsky who always…

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