9 Jul Dawkins Review of Intellectual Impostures. Guattari, one of many fashionable French ‘intellectuals’ outed by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont in. Buy Intellectual Impostures Main by Jean Bricmont, Alan Sokal (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on. Intellectual Impostures eBook: Jean Bricmont, Alan Sokal: : Kindle Store.

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That would have added to the fizzle in their journal. According to some reports, the response within the humanities was “polarized.

People have been bitterly divided. Conversely just because empirical information rests on unproven assumptions is no reason for not following it.

Sokal and Bricmont have gone about damming the tidal flow of irrationality into intellectual life in an all-or-nothing manner sure to go down well with those theory-haters who long to hear bad things imposturrs such as Lacan or Kristeva, but it will be counter-productive among the broader-minded, who inttellectual that the more styles of intellectual discourse cultures find the room and time for the healthier. According to New York Review of Books editor Barbara Epsteinwho was delighted by Sokal’s hoaxwithin the humanities the response to the book was bitterly divided, with some delighted and intellctual enraged; [3] in some reading groupsreaction was polarized between impassioned supporters and equally impassioned opponents of Sokal.

Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science French: They quote the following beginning of a word sentence from Paul Virilio.

He suggests there are imostures of scientists who have pointed out the difficulty of attacking his response. University of Minnesota Press. Most of the authors they criticise have attempted to run off with theory before looking to see if they are on the right track. They argue that this view is held by a number of people, including people who the authors label “postmodernists” and the Strong Programme in the sociology of science, and that it is illogical, impractical, and dangerous.

The conclusions reached are not proved by careful explanation but simply announced with the implication that the reasoning is obvious. Retrieved from ” https: Here they know what they are talking about, and their verdict is unequivocal. His implication is that they should have spiked it as so much rubbish, containing as it does a lot of half-baked science. A writer on structuralism in the Times Literary Supplement has suggested that thoughts which are confused and tortuous by reason of their profundity are most appropriately expressed in prose that is deliberately unclear.


Intellectuql he is genuine when he speaks of non-scientific subjects?

Intellectual Impostures

But a philosopher who is caught equating the erectile impotsures to the square root of minus one has, for my money, blown his credentials when it comes to things that I don’t know anything about.

Fink says that “Lacan could easily assume that his faithful seminar public Having myself only ever come across admirers of Lacan who were either entertained, bored or baffled by his topological and other mathematical conceits, as bravura moments in an unusually conceited floor-show, without seeing any need to determine their truth value, I find all this weirdly heavy-handed and alarmist.

The level of engagement with Sokal and Bricmont is already low. Retrieved 25 June 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.

John Sturrock reviews ‘Intellectual Impostures’ by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont · LRB 16 July

What a preposterously silly idea! It might be argued that these concepts are used as intelledtual, or are to be understood as kmpostures, however the purpose of analogy ought to be to make things clearer, where here it serves only to obscure.

It is just as well for Sokal and Bricmont that they are scientists, because they are now shafted in the humanities job market. Log In Register for Online Access. It is not just that he disagrees with what is said, but that he does not think anyone has the right to say it. One hardly ever believes Barthes. Book for book, market for market, debate for debate, Sokal and Bricmont are so outnumbered that the sight of Sturrock stamping them down is disturbing. The French, however, were the first to have the benefit of this book, which appeared there a year ago, before being translated into English by the authors themselves and published in the language community which they knew from the start had the greater need of it.

It has set out from the lab with the aim of discrediting those intellectual aspects of Post-Modernism that have had an impact on the humanities and social sciences: By continuing to browse the site with cookies enabled in your browser, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

His ‘definition’ of compactness is not just false: In the first place, singularities-events correspond to heterogeneous series which are organized into a system which is intllectual stable nor unstable, but rather ‘metastable’, endowed with a potential energy wherein the differences between series are distributed In a less disingenuous vein, they quote from Bertrand Russell, explaining how he lost faith impstures Hegel as a thinker after discovering how bad he was at maths.


How far can the social sciences achieve the same goals as the natural sciences? Guattari’s close collaborator, the late Gilles Deleuze, had a similar talent for writing: Contact us for rights and issues inquiries. For me it has a prancing, high-stepping quality, full of self-importance; elevated indeed, but in the balletic manner, and stopping from time to time in studied attitudes, as if awaiting an outburst of applause.

They are however scrupulous about setting out quotations and references.

Postmodernism disrobed

He submitted the article on the “hermeneutics of quantum ijpostures, to the cultural studies journal, Social Text, and to his surprise, they published it.

Rather, they aim to draw attention to the abuse of concepts from mathematics and physics, subjects they’ve devoted their careers to studying and teaching.

This is a defence witness who proves more useful to the prosecution. Professor Sokal then exposed the article as a hoax, provoking front-page articles in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the London Observer and Le Monde and a series of debates on university campuses.

Professor Sokal talks to Robyn Williams about his great hoax and about his book, Intellectual Impostures, written with physicist Jean Bricmont, which is an investigation of what he calls “sloppy thinking”. The more philosophically interesting parts of the book are the sections on Kuhn and Feyerabend and those who have taken their work as proof of a radical Epistemic Relativism.

His review is a godsend to those who, unlike Sokal and Bricmont, really do have their knives out for theory. University of Michigan Press. But to throw away clarity quite so casually is a more damaging concession than he realises. This point is well enough made in Intellectual Imposturesif also to excess, as Sokal and Bricmont go the rounds of their deluded authors, quoting them in their folly at a length that was hardly called for: Sokal and Bricmont highlight the rising tide of what they call cognitive relativismthe belief that there are no objective truths but only local beliefs.