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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Some not all philosophers sprinkle their texts with allusions to scientific or mathematical concepts that they do not appear to understand, and do not seem to care that they fashionale understand.

Postmodern theory aimed to establish a place in an academy based on Enlightenment and prior rationalism for irrationality.

Jul 17, Janet rated it did not like it. 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 dice throws, in a single cast.

The concept of an intellectual institution without a place for and vigorous exploration of nonsense horrifies me, as does Sokal’s highly unscientific failure to self-examine. A year later, Sokal collaborated with Jean Bricmont, a Belgian theoretical physicist, on a book covering the research and motivation for the Social Text essay entitled Fashionable Nonsense: He calls it ridiculous and weird that there are intensities of treatment by the scientists, in particular, that he was “much less badly treated,” when in fact he was the main target of the US press.


Claiming it to be outside of Latour’s dissection and inversion of it indicates an enclosed dogmatism as thorough of that he thinks he sees in postmodern theory.

Postmodernism disrobed

Revealing the hoax, Sokal set off quite an uproar, only in part about the question he was addressing — the use of science and scientific concepts and terminology in a non-scientific setting. For a long time I thought that Sokal’s famous hoax publication, plus this book, were intended to show that modern philosophers, particularly in France, are spouting nothing but nonsense.

What kind of literary style would you cultivate? It most likely will for some time. I wanted to like this, I really did. Mar 14, Hadrian rated it really liked it Shelves: Sokal’s was the only article written by a scientist, and he called it “Transgressing the Boundaries: Lacan to the Letter.

Eleganter Unsinn – Deutschland. 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. Two Millennia of Mathematics: So it’s usually the soundness, logic, style, and originality of the philosopher’s body of work and thought that tends to be revered or questioned in the end. But there is another, second kind of error: In some ways, it’s a shame that Sokal became famous for the Hoax first, because this book would probably have made a bigger impact if it weren’t associated with an author already famous for contentious, partisan views.

View all 51 comments. Since Medawar’s time, the whispering campaign has raised its voice. When Sokal published his famous joke paper, the joke was really that he didn’t realize it was all a joke already.

They go on to quote the following remarkable piece of reasoning by Lacan: The passages Sokal and Bricmont present are indeed examples of bad science to put it mildly. Jul 08, J. Tell a lie once! View all 34 comments. Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review ‘s biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers.


It’s interesting to read the examples and feel confused and a little intimidated by all the jargon, and then watch the author pick it apart and show that, no, it really is meaningless, and probably written for the express purpose of intimidating or impressing readers. Thus, by calculating that signification according to the algebraic method used here, namely: His fake essay was immediately lauded with praise from some of the intellectuals mentioned in it, as well as a number of American academics and philosophers who were influenced by the prominent postmodern thinkers.

Retrieved 15 April With that said, on to the book itself. This is the book you need to read. This book, like much of Sokal’s work, is aimed at debunking the modern powerhouses of literary criticism, 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.

It was part of an elaborate hoax and parody that Sokal was perpetrating on those who subscribe to “epistemic relativism,” i. Open Preview See a Problem?

Visit our Beautiful Books page and find lovely books for kids, photography lovers and more. Conservatives are notorious for being anti-science, but the Left has its own antagonisms.

And I’m a stodgy old scientist who believes, naively, that there exists an nonsenze world, that there exist objective truths about that world, and that my job is to discover some of them. The reason this is complicated is because said apologetics typically entail claims that the philosopher in question was being misread, misunderstood, or read or understood in the incorrect context.


As a scientist, Sokal does not overstep his own areas of expertise, while showing that po-mo academics routinely overstep theirs. Not only was the paper accepted by the journal, it was featured, and lauded by postmodern intellectuals.

Alan Sokal’s writings on science, philosophy and culture

University of Minnesota Fashionabble. People have been bitterly divided. The authors may be right in some instances when Lacan seems to use topological concepts in the wrong way; as well as Kristeva using Sets Theory.

To the general public he is best known for his criticism of postmodernism, resulting in the Sokal affair in One type is misunderstanding of math or theoretical physics in itself — say, when an author misquotes a mathematical definition.

So what I’m left with is a sense of a huge and unbridgeable gulf. Passages are cited and fashionalbe, and Sokal and Bricmont then also make nonsenwe larger and more general points. He suggests there are plenty of scientists who have pointed out the difficulty of attacking his response. It was completely relevant to my interests.