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The Sokal Affair

In his own counter-rebuttal, which was rejected by the editors of Social Text, Professor Sokal stated "Robbins and Ross say that I 'declined to enter into a publishable dialogue' with them. Quite the contrary: we're having that dialogue right now. What I declined was an oral dialogue, which in my opinion usually yields a low ratio of content to words. Robbins and Ross guess wrong when they say I feel 'threatened' by science-studies scholars. My goal isn't to defend science from the barbarian hordes of lit crit (we'll survive just fine, thank you), but to defend the Left from a trendy segment of itself. ...There are hundreds of important political and economic issues surrounding science and technology. Sociology of science, at its best, has done much to clarify these issues. But sloppy sociology, like sloppy science, is useless or even counterproductive." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_Affair, accessed Apr 2004

Fashionable Nonsense: The Sokal Affair (1996)

Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science (French: Impostures Intellectuelles, published in the UK as Intellectual Impostures) is a book by professors Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont. Sokal is best-known for the Sokal Affair, in which he submitted a satirical article to the journal Social Text, a moderately important critical theory journal, and got it accepted as a legitimate article. The book was published in 1997 in France and 1998 in the United States.


Therefore, Sokal and Bricmont contend, the authors of those texts probably attempted an incompetent show of erudition in an attempt to impress their readers. The authors who are criticized include Jacques Lacan, Julia Kristeva, Paul Virilio, Jean-François Lyotard, Gilles Deleuze, Luce Irigaray, Bruno Latour, and Jean Baudrillard. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fashionable_Nonsense [Dec 2004]

Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science - Alan D. Sokal, Jean Bricmont

  • Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science - Alan D. Sokal, Jean Bricmont [Amazon.com]
    In 1996, an article entitled "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity" was published in the cultural studies journal Social Text. Packed with recherché quotations from "postmodern" literary theorists and sociologists of science, and bristling with imposing theorems of mathematical physics, the article addressed the cultural and political implications of the theory of quantum gravity. Later, to the embarrassment of the editors, the author revealed that the essay was a hoax, interweaving absurd pronouncements from eminent intellectuals about mathematics and physics with laudatory--but fatuous--prose.

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