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CHOMSKY, WHAT ABOUT RIGHT AND WRONG? (Letter 1) Print E-mail
Written by Kevin L. Howard   

June 24, 2006

 

77 Massachusetts Avenue Bldg. 32-D808
Cambridge, MA 02139

 

Dear Mr. Noam Chomsky,

 

I've read some of your works and seen videos about you.  You hold strong beliefs about the government and big media.

I haven't discovered what serves as your foundation for right and wrong.  What is the worldview behind your beliefs?  If you're not a follower of Judaism, what guides you in evaluating right and wrong?

 

Do you believe in a personal God?  Is humanity ultimately good or bad?

 

Sincerely,

 

Kevin L. Howard

 

CHOMSKY'S RESPONSE

 

July 26, 2006

 

Dear Mr. Howard,

 

My foundation for right and wrong is exactly the same as yours, and everyone else's: my moral intuition, part of our shared human nature, which is modified by experience and which, if we are serious, we try to refine by reflection, interaction with others, experiment, etc.

 

There are those who mislead themselves into thinking they have found some other basis-say the precepts of some organized religion.  That is not true.  One reason is that the tenets of every such cultural system allow multiple interpretations.  Another is that the choice itself has no foundation, and from a moral point of view, is perfectly arbitrary.

 

On a personal God, the question of belief is too imprecise to have an answer.  What is it that one is asked to believe in, or not.  Is humanity good or bad?  Question is meaningless.  We all know that humans-in fact each of us-is capable of a range of actions from noble to awful. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Noam Chomsky

 

 

See our second round of correspondence: http://www.neednotfret.com/content/view/18/55/

 
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