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To the Best of Our Knowledge: The Responsibility of Intellectuals Radio/TV Program

To the Best of Our Knowledge: The Responsibility of Intellectuals

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Publisher's Summary

In this hour, Noam Chomsky may be America's most prominent radical intellectual. A renowned professor at MIT, a father of modern linguistics, it his view on politics that have made Chomsky much admired and much reviled. His outspoken criticism of US policy in Vietnam led to a famous 1967 essay in which he urged intellectuals to speak the truth and expose lies. He recently received the Lifetime Contribution to Critical Scholarship award from the Havens Center at the University of Wisconsin, and that gave Steve Paulson the opportunity to talk with him. During the interview he states that Robert Siegel of NPR's All Things Considered has a policy preventing Chomsky from appearing on that program. We asked Mr. Siegel and read his response saying that is just not true.

Next, academics are no longer just ivory tower analysts. The Defense Department has recently hired civilian anthropologists and social scientists as on-the-ground advisors to soldiers in something called the Human Terrain System. James Der Derian of Brown University talks to Anne Strainchamps about the controversy and his film Human Terrain: War Becomes Academic. Another documentary, Examined Life, features eight prominent philosophers, including Cornel West, Peter Singer, Slavoj Zizek and others. Jim Fleming talks with the filmmaker, Astra Taylor, who calls herself a "serious generalist" who likes to play with big ideas.

Moral and political responsibility for philosophers is something that's been of interest to Christopher Hitchens for a long time. His new memoir, Hitch 22, follows his own involvement with controversies such as the Cuban Revolution, the Vietnam War, and the war in Iraq. Steve Paulson talks with Hitchens about the role of the intellectual. [Broadcast Date: January 20, 2012]

Listen to Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens.

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    (P) and ©2012 Wisconsin Public Radio

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