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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It seems fairly clear that the thinkers quoted gashionable scientific terminology not for actual support though we are thinking that topology is a fun thing to apply to psychologybut because the abstract notion “science” lends their arguments credibility. The symmetry of scale, the transversality, the pathic non-discursive character of their expansion: Second, functions depend not just on numbers; they are really relations of variables with the numbers occurring in them as constants that do not vary.

Alan Sokal Jean Bricmont.

A person reading such passages who doesn’t understand the technical math and science concepts invoked may well think “wow, this is so profound that it goes over my head”, and that seems to be one of the motivations behind this kind of writing, to wow laypeople with superficial, pedantic intellectuality.

In it, the two run through the list of names, with fully researched analysis of writings illustrative alqn particular instances in which erroneous claims about science are made.


Fashionable Nonsense – Wikipedia

If you’ve ever had to read the postmodernist writings of Focault, Derrida, Lacan, or any of their innumerable disciples and come away with only the vaguest idea as to their meaning, you might want to read this book.

He replied to leftist and postmodernist criticism of the deception by saying that his motivation had been to “defend the Left from a trendy segment of itself.

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?

The extracts are intentionally rather long to avoid accusations of taking sentences out of context. Sokal is best known to the general public for the Sokal Affair of What we have here is a catalogue of some of the most blatantly stupid and lazy things ever written by an academic of some prestige, all of which have in common the tendency to invoke scientific and mathematic concepts the author spkal not understand.

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Many literary critics seem to judge an idea good not due to its merit, but its novelty and outrageousness. Physics is a subject that is genuinely very difficult.

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

We do have direct contact with the world. But of course if everyone had this cast of mind, then these authors would not have the renown they do. As there was a point when I did not have enough knowledge to dismiss it and still had a sense that is was a frightful brew that does not make sense.

But recently I saw a bit of a yootoobe video where some guy says that is not what Sokal was doing, and that Sokal himself said so. If I hold a belief that is beyond a reasonable doubtI should be willing to act on it, and for me a belief is not a belief until it is beyond a reasonable doubt. Freud’s theories are by this point laughable, and yet they persist as viable modes of literary analysis. It is an unusual way of undermining science since the thinkers are toppled along with their false foundationsbut this, surely, is the most dangerous aspect of the whole affair — that science is pulled down to their level, when its great value is in being above such petty and mindless debate, when its strength is in the intellectual rigor it demands.

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Fashionable Nonsense : Postmodern Intellectuals\’ Abuse of Science

Apr 01, Brett Williams rated it it was amazing. More plausible is the argument that Sokal and Bricmont only show a few selective examples, that these may or may not be representative, and that they often only figure in a small part of the cited authors’ works i. What is most extraordinary is that the two hypotheses, the apocalypse of real time and pure war along with the triumph of the virtual over the real, are realised at the same time, in the same space-time, each in implacable pursuit of the other.


Bruce Fink offers a critique in his book Lacan to the Letterwhere he accuses Sokal and Bricmont of demanding that “serious writing” do nothing other than “convey clear meanings”.

I mean it felt like I was drowning in it—give me some air please. Both scientists by trade, specialists in mathematics and physics, they are in fact coming back on their now famous hoax the so-called ‘Sokal Affair’ to better expose how fallacious fashinable philosophies are.

He, however, was being funny on purpose. An important book, it is nevertheless almost unreadable — mainly because of the absurd passages cited extensively by Sokal and Bricmont. Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity.

It was so bad I felt gr For the nth time yesterday I thought maybe there was something there after all, so I went back and tried reading some Deleuze. This goes much further than you may think at first, because you can search for the sort of surface able to receive such inscriptions. 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. Impostures intellectuelles – Canada. Mar 13, Marshall rated it liked it Shelves: Or, more aptly, Derrida with it!

It is a bizarre debate that has evolved around this, and in fact the critical response is almost as interesting as the book itself. To view it, click here. If the impact of these intellectuals upon political issues, especially via their influence on part of the Left, is well known cultural relativism, multiculturalism, political correctness etc.