If we substitute for a frog a "Mr. Goodwill" or a "Mr. Prudence," and for the scorpion "Mr. Treachery" or "Mr. Two-Face," and make the river any river and substitute for "We're both Arabs . . ." "We're both men . ." we turn the fable [which illustrates human tendencies by using animals as illustrative examples] into an allegory [a narrative in which each character and action has symbolic meaning]. On the other hand, if we turn the frog into a father and the scorpion into a son (boatman and passenger) and we have the son say "We're both sons of God, aren't we?", then we have a parable (if a rather cynical one) about the wickedness of human nature and the sin of parricide. (22)
In the 1990s, Chomsky introduced something he called the Minimalist programme. It is presented not as a theory of what universal grammar is, but as an outline of a productive way to think about things, one that prioritises simplicity, elegance, parsimony. He invoked another aspect of Galilean style, the idea that the scientist should be guided by the expectation that the deepest laws of nature will be the easiest and simplest ones. In a 1999 interview, Chomsky said that ‘it is the abstract systems you are constructing that are really the truth; the array of phenomena is some distortion of the truth because of too many factors, all sorts of things. And so, it often makes good sense to disregard phenomena and search for principles that really seem to give some deep insight into why some of them are that way, recognising that there are others that you can’t pay attention to.’ In other words, air resistance is real, but it’s just not relevant to the deeper truth about the motion of falling bodies.