Noam Chomsky is a linguist and writer of political tracts at MIT. There was a lively debate between Chomsky and B. F. Skinner in the 1950s. This was also around the time Chomsky published Syntactic Structures, a short book which took the structuralist ideas of twenty years before and turned them into generative grammar. Linguistics spent the next thirty or forty years trying to get generative grammar and its descendent-equivalents---transformational grammar, government and binding theory, and so forth---to work properly on actual language. (This is not quite accurate, as modern generative grammar is so introspective that it ignores what people really say, such as ``I might could have another piece of pie'' so that principles such as ``INFL may only contain one modal'' may be satisfied.) Then Chomsky introduced the Minimalist program, which attempts to invalidate all the work done in generative grammar from the 1960s on.

I used to be a big fan of Chomskyan theory, but no more. Some of his politics is okay, I guess.