Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory (Chomsky, 1955)

Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory (Chomsky, 1955)

How it all began…

This is a pdf scan of one of the last surviving microfilms of Chomsky’s Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory –  all 919 pages of it.  While a version of this was published in 1975, that publication omitted several crucial sections, e.g., the information-theoretic analysis of syntactic categories, work done jointly with Peter Elias. 

In addition, this scan includes Chomsky’s hand-written changes and other marginal notes.

— from Robert C. Berwick’s Alpha Leonis LIDS website

Considered to be one of the most important works in the history of the Cognitive Sciences, LSLT is a profoundly insightful piece of scientific work that not only provides the foundational underpinning of Generative Linguistics and the current Biolinguistic Program, but also serves to contextualize the power of a formal linguistic theory of the generative variety by making amply clear the extent to which Chomsky anticipated and predicted the scope and shortcomings of the so-called ‘modern statistical methods’ in Linguistics. A proper study of Chomsky’s LSLT shows us that not only are statistical, and “deep”, learning methods utterly inadequate in providing for an explanatory adequacy in Linguistic Theory, but moreover these so-called “modern” methods merely arrive at the same conclusions, albeit mostly sans acknowledgment, that Noam Chomsky did. Over half a century ago, and without the aid of all the computing and machine-generated power of the present day. This document is a testimony to the sheer genius of Noam Chomsky.