Avram Noam Chomsky (born December 7, 1928) is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, historian, political critic, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor (Emeritus) in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. In addition to his work in linguistics, he has written on war, politics, and mass media, and is the author of over 100 books. According to the Arts and Humanities Citation Index in 1992, Chomsky was cited as a source more often than any other living scholar from 1980 to 1992, and was the eighth most cited source overall. He has been described as a prominent cultural figure, and he was voted the “world’s top public intellectual” in a 2005 poll.
Chomsky has been described as the “father of modern linguistics”and a major figure of analytic philosophy. His work has influenced fields such as computer science, mathematics, and psychology. He is credited as the creator or co-creator of the Chomsky hierarchy, the universal grammar theory, and the Chomsky–Schützenberger theorem.
After the publication of his first books on linguistics, Chomsky became a prominent critic of the Vietnam War, and since then has continued to publish books of political criticism. He has become well known for his critiques of U.S. foreign policy, state capitalism and the mainstream news media. His media criticism has included Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), co-written with Edward S. Herman, an analysis articulating the propaganda model theory for examining the media. He describes his views as “fairly traditional anarchist ones, with origins in the Enlightenment and classical liberalism”, and sometimes identifies with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism.