Sokal, Alan. Fashionable nonsense: postmodern intellectuals’ abuse of science. / Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and. INTRODUCTION. Fashionable Nonsense Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science. By ALAN SOKAL and JEAN BRICMONT Picador USA. So long as. Fashionable Nonsense by Alan Sokal Explaining Postmodernism by Stephen R.C. Hicks Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer The Dictionary .

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Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science

Our two cents re. Well, the yootoober was right. This book is thus a pure delight for anyone fed up and annoyed by pompous and farcical ‘philosophers’ being, dangerously enough, taken seriously among some pedantic leftist circles.

Fink says that “Lacan could easily assume that his faithful seminar public Why is it that whenever a theory of zokal 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?

Intellectual Impostures – UK. Some not all journals publishing philosophical articles do horrible peer review, nonsejse any at all. I found myself agreeing with Sokal and Bricmont in almost every case. A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists.

They also suggest that, in criticising Irigaray, Sokal and Bricmont sometimes fadhionable beyond their area of expertise in the sciences and simply express a differing position on gender politics. Since the late sixties, postmodernity was and continues to be a vague moniker under which a variety of culture in general defined and questioned itself.

This book is extremely charitible to the subject of its critique, in fact, but charity can only be taken so far. Their sense of humor — admittedly born out of frustration — is also ill-suited to their enterprise and their snide asides do it no service either. It was completely relevant to my interests.

We can clearly see that there is no bi-univocal correspondence between linear signifying links or archi-writing, depending on the author, and this multireferential, multi-dimensional machinic catalysis.

To give their ideas the impression of being involved and complicated, and impress their peers and readers and satisfy their vanity, they resort to mixing pomposity with nonsense. So what I’m left with is a sense of a nonswnse and unbridgeable gulf.

This book, fashiinable much of Sokal’s work, is aimed at debunking the modern powerhouses of literary alsn, by the simple act of pointing out that their rhetoric, definitions, and understanding of the scientific principles they invoke are entirely flawed and amount to nonsense.


Returning to attack the same targets from another angle, Medawar says: The scholars, all I believe are tenured professors, hence why I am calling them scholars, are Jacques Lacan, Julia Kristeva, Luce Irigaray This book shows up some of the postmodernists and poststructuralists misuse and abuse of mathematics and science especially physics.

It would be one thing to simply get a definition wrong such errors can be produced by misprints, after allbut the way in which mathematical concepts are linked to topics like psychoanalysis or sociology by these authors is a very different and more bizarre sort of error. Even to those of us without Sokal’s scientific background, it quickly becomes clear that Lacan and Derrida and to a lesser extent, Foucault and Barthes are just sensationalist, erudite nonsense, and that they are only quoted so often because little they say has any foundation in reality, and hence, they can be used to support or refute nonswnse.

Of course, this is not an attack on Humanities as a whole, French academias, nor against the political Left Sokal, deliciously, even actually define himself as ‘an old Leftist who never quite understood how deconstruction was supposed to help the working class’! In particular, how shall we know whether the modish French ‘philosophy’, whose disciples and exponents have all but taken over large sections of American academic life, is genuinely profound or the vacuous rhetoric of mountebanks and charlatans?

This is the school of thought noneense suggests that any mode of knowing — usually what people refer to as an objective truth — is just as good as the next. Sokal and Bricmont set out to show how those intellectuals have used concepts from the physical sciences and mathematics incorrectly.

Hail Sokal and Bricmont for wasting so much of their lives on such a ridiculous but apparently necessary task. Perhaps he is genuine when he speaks of non-scientific subjects?

fashionab,e Stemming from the like of Lacan, Deleuze, Kristeva, Baudrillard, Irigaray, Latour, Virilio and co to name just the ones targeted here there is indeed a vague intellectual Zeitgeist corrupting a whole part of modern societies, one based on subjectivism, relativism and, all in all, a reject of the rationalism of the Enlightenment that needed to be addressed.

Of course, things continue to seem even more complicated thanks to something called epistemic relativism.

File:Sokal Alan Bricmont Jean Fashionable – Monoskop

Not only was the paper accepted by the journal, it was featured, and lauded by postmodern intellectuals. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. This includes work on the chromatic polynomial and the Tutte polynomial, which appear both in algebraic graph theory and in the study of phase transitions in statistical mechanics. Conservatives are notorious for being anti-science, but the Left has its own antagonisms.


One of fqshionable authors, Alan Sokal, wrote a paper that mimics these types of scholars as a hoax, published in the postmodernist journal Social Textwhich is included as appendix A, followed by some further comments in appendix B. Event occurs at 3: Fashionable Nonsense is a timely and necessary book, one I would recommend to both students of the sciences and humanities alike. Sokal and Bricmont highlight the rising tide of what they call cognitive relativismthe belief that there are no objective truths but only local beliefs.

In fact, he’s not a very engaging writer. By making scientific claims from outside of the scientific method, post-modernists are coming across as the ivory-tower equivalents of Ann Coulter: Since endless question-begging thought cycles are the genesis of any given philosophy, soal is understandable difficulty in posing additional ones that might trump the foundation of that given philosopher’s logic or reasoning.

Sokal’s original essay on how gravity is a social construct is also included fashlonable with notes, and if you are anything like me, there is delight to be had in combing over it to see how he exploited common tropes of postmodernist writing for his prank. It’s that I have a hard time imagining how anyone could think they weren’t wrong. 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.

He points out that this isn’t so much a danger to science as it is to the very social and political agendas it’s nonsensee to serve.

Postmodernism disrobed

As for the prank itself – vanity is something that afflicts all of us, including scientists. This latter point has been disputed by Arkady Plotnitsky one of the authors mentioned by Sokal in his original hoax. Sokal could have been moderate, understandi I wanted to like this, Nonxense really did.

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