Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science

Front Cover
Macmillan, Oct 29, 1999 - Philosophy - 300 pages

In 1996 physicist Alan Sokal published an essay in Social Text--an influential academic journal of cultural studies--touting the deep similarities between quantum gravitational theory and postmodern philosophy.

Soon thereafter, the essay was revealed as a brilliant parody, a catalog of nonsense written in the cutting-edge but impenetrable lingo of postmodern theorists. The event sparked a furious debate in academic circles and made the headlines of newspapers in the U.S. and abroad.

In Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science, Sokal and his fellow physicist Jean Bricmont expand from where the hoax left off. In a delightfully witty and clear voice, the two thoughtfully and thoroughly dismantle the pseudo-scientific writings of some of the most fashionable French and American intellectuals. More generally, they challenge the widespread notion that scientific theories are mere "narrations" or social constructions.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - cpg - LibraryThing

Battle vs. Nonsense Makes Strange Bedfellows My political and social views are very, very different from Sokal's and Bricmont's (and I really don't care how much postmodernism damages the Left), but I ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Razinha - LibraryThing

I can really appreciate what Sokal and Bricmont did here because I tore down Robert Anton Wilson's Quantum Psychology and that was a burdensome task. Authors of pseudoscientific nonsense seem to say ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Jacques Lacan
18
Julia Kristeva
38
Intermezzo Epistemic Relativism in the Philosophy of Science
50
Luce Irigaray
106
Bruno Latour
124
Intermezzo Chaos Theory and Postmodern Science
134
Jean Baudrillard
147
Paul Virilio
169
Godels Theorem and Set Theory Some Examples of Abuse
176
Epilogue
182
Transgressing the Boundaries Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity
212
Some Comments on the Parody
259
Transgressing the Boundaries An Afterword
268
Bibliography
281
Index
297

Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari
154

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About the author (1999)

Alan Sokalis a professor of physics at New York University.

Jean Bricmontis a theoretical physicist with the Université de Louvaine in Belgium.

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