Fashionable nonsense: postmodem Intellectuals’ abuse or science. I Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont. p. em. Includes bibliographical references and Index. Fashionable Nonsense by Alan Sokal Explaining Postmodernism by Stephen R.C. Hicks Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer The Dictionary . A review and a link to other reviews of Fashionable Nonsense by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont.

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Nevertheless, Sokal and Bricmont are to be commended for their spirited resistance to postmodernity’s failure to appreciate science for what it is. Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life.

Much more instructive were the sections between the criticisms of the individual postmodern authors, that dealt more broadly with the roles of science and reason in the humanities and politics. But if like me, you regularly have to encounter postmodernism in the flesh and just don’t get it, this is a must-read. The editors got too excited that such a famous neuroscientist has discovered yet another minor detail about our nature to be the result of evolution and natural selection.

There is an afterword as appendix C. They write ABOUT the sensation of encountering the honsense, the gaps between realms of knowledge, the incommensurability of intellectual and otherwise cultures.

Postmodernism disrobed

After Sokal revealed the hoax, bitter debates raged within academia. Sokal and Bricmont go to great lengths to maintain that they are only attacking the weak science of these works, but the inescapable conclusion is that thinkers who are willing to spew such claptrap without a thought for its meaning, and whose only goal is to cow and intimidate their audience through the use of incontestable terminology and concepts are, in fact, charlatans, and that while there might be some value in their charlatanry it is not really something we should look upon kindly.


Of course, people usually question philosophers with good reason. Despite what other reviewers have said, there is nothing in these parts which does not seem to me to be thoroughly reasonable and correct. In it, the two run through the list of names, with fully researched analysis of writings illustrative of particular instances in which erroneous claims about science are made.

Fashionable Nonsense

Hence nonsensical verbiage, demonstrating that such philosophies are nothing more than ‘mystification, deliberately obscure language, confused thinking, and the misuse of scientific concepts’, the authors dismiss them for what they are: Jan 14, Vikas Lather rated it it was amazing Shelves: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science Cover of the first edition.

Feyerabend’s “epistemic anarchy” as put forward in his putative “Against Method” is analyzed, as is nosense radical interpretation of Quinean underdetermination and incomensurability, and Thomas Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”. No doubt there exist thoughts so profound that most of us will not understand the language in which they are expressed.

The symmetry of scale, the transversality, the pathic non-discursive character of their expansion: Paperbackpages. I liken the postmodernists to Deepak Chopra in their use of such language as pseudo-profundity to support honsense theoretical arguments. Again, to the skeptical lay-reader, the entire argument might sound like two sides vociferously attempting to persuade and convince a neutral party.

Dawkins Review of Intellectual Impostures

Physics is a subject that is genuinely very difficult. Dec 22, Jafar rated it really liked it. If nothing else though Sokal and Bricmont show that clarity is necessary, desirable, and really not all that hard to achieve — would that modern culture theory at least pick up that much. These excerpts are painful to read. The extracts are intentionally rather long to avoid accusations of taking sentences out of context. The blanket relativism that Sokal offers in his parody is an absurdity, and easily recognizable as such.


Even when those allusions are meant to be taken as metaphors they often make no sense.

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

I am reminded of an air-raid warden in wartime Oxford who, when bright moonlight seemed to be defeating the spirit of the blackout, exhorted us to wear dark glasses. But to understand what this book is, you also have to understand what it is not. 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 anything.

Responses from the scientific community were more supportive.

There was a problem filtering reviews right afshionable. Event occurs at 3: 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 twisted to serve. To view it, click here. That ‘special relativity’ and ‘cultural relativism’ share the same etymological root does not mean they share the same epistemological foundation.

In 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.