"...we will always learn more about human life and human personality from novels than from scientific psychology." (Noam Chomsky). To what extent would you agree?

Extracts from this essay...


"...we will always learn more about human life and human personality from novels than from scientific psychology." (Noam Chomsky). To what extent would you agree? Everyday we, as human beings learn something new about ourselves. Especially through the advances in critical thinking and intellectual thought in psychology and literature. Noam Chomsky is undoubtedly an expert in this subject, a former Professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and intellectual in the areas of psychology, politics and philosophy of language. Chomsky's naturalistic study's of language has affected the philosophy of language and mind, by influencing other intellectuals. We use knowledge and psychology to learn about human life and human personality. When approaching a statement concerning human psychology and literature, matters of human knowledge, human life and human personality arise. Both novels and scientific psychology allows us to understand and analyze human perception, emotion, reason and language. However there is ambiguity in the quote, as it assumes that humans will always learn new things. But will we achieve full knowledge and understanding of our humanity? Whether it is through novels or psychology? Human life and personality can be described as humanity in this context as it makes up what our lives are centered on, the ways of knowing. A novel is defined as "a fictitious prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism."1 And psychology is defined as "the scientific study of the human mind and its functions."2 What definition is suitable to these words depends on a person's bias.


At the time, many people learnt new aspects of human behaviour, as a new creature explores through this 'new' world, he discovers human anger, revenge, love and other emotions. But as the monster is not aware of what is socially acceptable, he murders people to have his vengeance. The ways of knowing are certainly found in psychology. As psychology allows the interpretation of thoughts in the human mind and the study of mental processes and behaviour to help us understand our lives better. By interpreting the information in our minds through psychology, our perception of life and behaviour can become more focused, as we understand more about these aspects of humanity. By analyzing our thoughts, a better comprehension of human emotions can be evolved, as they are possibly the most volatile aspects of humanity because of the obstructions they cause in our lives, learning more about emotions would definitely improve our understanding of human personalities. Reason in psychology permits scientists to understand how the human mind processes information and how that person reaches a decision. Through the analysis of reasoning, we can discover how human beings reach a decision as some people argue that you always have a choice, and by understanding how we reach that choice, we can learn a lot about one's personality. We already understand a lot about language and communication, but if appreciate how we think of the symbols and ways of communicating we can reach a conclusion of how the human mind can use references in his/her environment to develop a way of communication.


Many linguistics professors such as Robert D. Levine have disagreed with many of Chomsky's linguistic works. There was even a book released called The Anti-Chomsky Reader. Chomsky has been accused of "falsely denigrating other sciences to make his own work seem less inadequate." Which would explain why this statement in favour of novels was released. If I were applying this statement to my IB experiences, I would have to agree with this statement. Even though I do not have psychology lessons, my English A1 lessons are normally the study of novels. Books such as Frankenstein, The Wasp Factory, The Kite Runner and others do relate to this argument because I believe these novels demonstrate human life and behaviour through fictitious stories and provide an interesting scope into humanity. In conclusion, I believe that it would be wiser to combine both, novels and scientific psychology instead of viewing them separately, as by combining them we will be able to learn even more. With the humanistic appeal of novels towards its readers, and the theoretical and scientific backing of human life and personality, we will be able to have more understanding of our own humanity. Word Count - 1, 427 By Kunal Gokal 1 Definition of 'novel' in the Oxford English Dictionary 2 Definition of 'psychology' in the Oxford English Dictionary 3 Christopher Columbus, Journal of the First Voyage 4 Definition of 'art' in the Oxford English Dictionary 5 Carl Jung, Paracelsus the Physician (1942) 6 Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922)

The above preview is unformatted text

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • Over 150,000 essays available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Over 180,000 student essays
  • Every subject and level covered
  • Thousands of essays marked by teachers
  • Over 180,000 essays
    written by students
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to write
    your own great essays

Marked by a teacher

This essay has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the essay.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the essay page.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review under the essay preview on this page.