I’m not recommending that others follow in my footsteps, but I saw a collection of old pieces published under the title The Chomsky-Foucault Debates on Human Nature and I picked it up. The Foucault stuff struck me as tediously outdated—who on earth still cares about the Marxist-Leninist view of something?—but Chomsky struck me as outdated too, just not tediously so.
Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. The reprinted material was new in the 1970s. But these people are supposed to be talking about human nature, which hasn’t changed much in the past 30 years. Chomsky himself points out there has been “virtually no theoretical progress” in our understanding of human nature since Aristotle’s day, so if we can still read Thucydides for a good portrait of human nature, why can’t we read Chomsky-Foucault as well? It is not so easy to produce a classic text, even when addressing a classic theme.