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 (Intellectual Impostures) – Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont

Sokal and Bricmont disclose how “deliberately obscure language” is used to hide confused thinking, that often if something is difficult to understand in the writings of these philosophers it’s because they aren’t saying anything. This book basically picks up where the parody left off, displaying several examples of articles which abuse science in bizarre and sometimes meaningless ways.

Sylt For the nth time yesterday I thought maybe there was something there after all, so I went back and tried reading some Deleuze. 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.

Hail Sokal and Bricmont for wasting so much of their lives on such a ridiculous but apparently necessary task. The complete review ‘s Review:.

I admit, I stopped reading when he started digging into Latour, a philosopher who has himself bridged the same gap, and sought to understand science in post-modern, intersubjective way, by moving from sociology of science through posthuman politics. This is what this book means by postmodernism. Radical thought must be embraced — but what the Social Text folk do is neither radical nor is it thought. It is worse than books debunking psychic phenomena and the like because whereas psychics address the common man, the thinkers attacked here write in prose?


First, a note on context — this book was co-authored by Alan Sokal, the perpetrator of the in famous Sokal Hoax. 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 faashionable are looked down upon as intellectual inferiors and those who do understand are lying.

He wasn’t arguing against the usefulness or relevance of the social sciences, rather, he was arguing against pretentious nonsense promulgated as fact under the guise of science. Keeping strictly to the scientific claims and subsequent abuses of several famous po-mo academics, Sokal shows both that post-modernism has created sokla parody of intellectual rigor, and that the post-modern methodology is in danger of undermining the once proud study of arts and letters.

Returning to attack the same targets from another angle, Medawar says: Fashionbale to see whether the then-non-peer-reviewed postmodern cultural studies journal Social Text published by Duke University Press would publish a submission which “flattered the editors’ ideological preconceptions,” Sokal submitted a grand-sounding but completely nonsensical paper entitled “Transgressing the Boundaries: Since Medawar’s time, the whispering campaign has raised its voice.

This page was last edited on 27 Decemberat The second problem is more telling.

Fashionable Nonsense

Unfortunately, much of postmodernist “thinking” has become associated with the left, a linkage Sokal abhors. When concepts are abused like this, there tends to be a backlash when this comes to light, as it always does.

It’s not just that these sorts of bizarre claims — say, that Cantor’s infinities have something to do with psychoanalysis, or that the notion of “lightlike intervals” in special relativity theory can somehow explain modern society — it’s not just that these claims happen to be wrong.

The story of the origin of this book is a playful one: There is a reason that science and the humanities are administered by different departments in almost every university.

Postmodernism disrobed

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 such philosophies are.


They go on to quote the following remarkable piece of reasoning by Lacan: The book was published in French inand in English in ; the English editions were revised for greater relevance to debates in the English-speaking world. If you’re like Sokal and Bricmont and me, you’ll agree with Fashionable Nonsense, but you probably don’t have to read it in the first place; if you’re not like us, it probably won’t convince you of anything, because it mainly argues by exhibiting its targets as though their flaws were self-evident.

I think it’s crucial that respectable academics stop purveying semantically vacuous nonsense that egregiously expropriates terms that have precise scientific meanings, with demonstrably no understanding whatever of those meanings, for the purpose of furthering an atmosphere of moral equivalency for sense and nonsense.

File:Sokal Alan Bricmont Jean Fashionable – Monoskop

Christine Ladd Franklin, saying that she was a solipsist, and was surprised fashkonable there were not others. In the second place, singularities possess a process of auto-unification, always mobile and displaced to the extent that a paradoxical element traverses the series and makes them resonate, enveloping the corresponding singular points in a single aleatory point and all the emissions, all fashionanle throws, in a single cast. Mar 07, Owlseyes rated it really liked it Shelves: To add to that, there is the incessant theoretical backpedaling and earnest apologetics Assessing the usefulness or relevance of philosophy is a seemingly confounding endeavor.

The chapters dealing with the PoMo thinkers consist of textual excerpts analyzed by Sokal and Bricmont. That group and the thinkers they have embraced have twisted all debate into the unintellectual, returning it to the level of theological debate where anything can be proposed and propounded as long as fashonable proper terminology and, in the case of theological debate, the reigning deities are invoked.