Fashionable Nonsense by Alan Sokal Explaining Postmodernism by Stephen R.C. Hicks Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer The Dictionary . INTRODUCTION. Fashionable Nonsense Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science. By ALAN SOKAL and JEAN BRICMONT Picador USA. So long as. Fashionable Nonsense. Alan Sokal, Author, Jean Bricmont, Joint Author Picador USA $23 (p) ISBN

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I could quote evidence of the beginnings of a whispering campaign against the virtues of clarity. Both scientists by trade, specialists in mathematics and physics, they are in fact coming back solal their now famous hoax the so-called ‘Sokal Affair’ to better expose how fallacious such philosophies are.

First, a note on context — this book was co-authored by Alan Sokal, the perpetrator of the in famous Sokal Hoax. Sokal discusses Feyeraband and his anarchic views on scientific method in discourse on the plausibility of epistemic relativism. The very fact that the paper was accepted and lauded shows how welcoming postmodern intellectuals are of such abuse. Marx’s alaan economic theories have gone the same way. What if it really takes an expert eye to detect whether the emperor has clothes?

Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science French: They also suggest that, in criticising Irigaray, Sokal and Bricmont sometimes go beyond their area of expertise in the sciences and simply express a differing position on gender politics.

Sokal is best known for the Sokal Affairin which he submitted a deliberately absurd article [1] to Social Texta critical theory journal, and was able to get it published. They go on to quote the following remarkable piece of reasoning by Lacan: There are fasuionable discussion topics on this book yet.

For those who do not recall it: The quotations are often very long, and are typically longer than the commentary; this may have the highest quotation-to-main-text ratio of any book I’ve ever read. A major portion of the book is given over to reproductions of original ‘postmodernist’ sources that ramble for pages on end, with trifling comments by the authors on how the different scientific concepts have been misinterpreted or misused.


Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science

We use cookies to give you the best possible experience. Although this is an important book, it is not a very enjoyable one to read, for the simple fact that the authors felt compelled to quote at length from some of the most disfigured and meaningless jumbles of words that I have ever seen sewn together in the guise of sentences.

On Jacques Lacan, for example, whose name is revered by many in humanities departments throughout US and British universities, no doubt partly because he simulates a profound understanding of mathematics: The book had mixed reviews, with some lauding the effort, some more reserved, and others pointing out alleged inconsistencies and criticizing the authors for ignorance of the fields under attack and taking passages out of context.

With that said, on to the book itself. Radical thought must be embraced — but what the Social Text folk do is neither radical nor nonsesne it thought. In it, the two run through the list of names, with fully researched analysis of writings illustrative of particular instances in which erroneous claims about science are wlan. The philosopher Thomas Nagel has supported Sokal and Bricmont, describing their book as consisting largely of “extensive quotations of scientific gibberish from name-brand French intellectuals, together with eerily patient explanations of why it is gibberish,” [11] and agreeing that “there does seem to be something about the Parisian scene that qlan particularly hospitable to reckless verbosity.

Sokal submitted a paper titled Transgressing the Boundaries: We do have direct contact with the world.

The original parody, included here, is a fairly fun read it can also be found online. Some not all journals publishing philosophical articles do horrible peer review, if any at all.

Fashionable Nonsense (Intellectual Impostures) – Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont

The credibility gap is perpetuated when po-mo academics couch their usually non-existent ‘theories’ in language so dense and difficult to read that those who cannot understand are looked down upon as intellectual inferiors and those who do understand are lying. These are, after all, academics that make a living out of composing texts full of “deep questions”, ones that typically aren’t steeped in methodologies that tend to provide reliable evidence or proof.


Oh, how badly the Left needs more books like this, boldly championing scientific objectivity and facts over political or spiritual ideologies that abuse science to gain legitimacy and further their agendas. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies. Several scientists have expressed similar sentiments. It is like a book about child abuse, describing in graphic detail the sins of the fathers — there should be no need for such a thing.

Although I enjoyed the ribbing of academic obscurantism, my impression of the original ‘Sokal Affair’, where he submitted a gibberish article to an academic journal, seems to be based on a case of sloppy peer-review, which is an ongoing issue.

In the first place, singularities-events correspond to heterogeneous series which are organized into a system which is neither stable nor unstable, but rather ‘metastable’, endowed with a potential energy wherein the differences between series are distributed He was trying to make a very serious point: Why is it that whenever a theory of social science is found to be flawed, and loses the respect of the scientific community, it manages to find new success as a branch of literary criticism?

Impostures intellectuelles – France. Sokal and Bricmont claim that they do not intend to analyze postmodernist thought in general. Their aim is “not to criticize the left, but to help defend it from a trendy segment of itself. Fink says that “Lacan could easily assume that his faithful seminar public Alan Sokal Jean Bricmont. View all 51 comments.

Fashionable Nonsense : Alan Sokal :

Return to Book Page. Hopefully the bloated, meandering heads of academia will soon be shamed into doing real work by the efforts of men like Sokal. Postmodern theory aimed to sokl a place in an academy based on Enlightenment and prior rationalism for irrationality. A torus, a Klein bottle, a cross-cut surface, are able to receive such a cut.