Fashionable nonsense : postmodern intellectuals' abuse of by Sokal, Alan D.; Bricmont, Jean

By Sokal, Alan D.; Bricmont, Jean

"In 1996, Alan Sokal released an Essay within the hip highbrow journal Social textual content parodying the clinical yet impenetrable lingo of latest theorists. at the heels of the fierce educational debate that the hoax, Sokal groups up with Jean Bricmont to show the abuse of clinical strategies within the writings of latest most trendy postmodern thinkers. From Jacques Lacan and Julia Kristeva to Luce Read more...

summary: "In 1996, Alan Sokal released an Essay within the hip highbrow journal Social textual content parodying the clinical yet impenetrable lingo of up to date theorists. at the heels of the fierce educational debate that the hoax, Sokal groups up with Jean Bricmont to show the abuse of medical ideas within the writings of ultra-modern most trendy postmodern thinkers. From Jacques Lacan and Julia Kristeva to Luce Irigaray and Jean Baudrillard, the authors rfile the blunders made by means of a few postmodernists utilizing technology to strengthen their arguments and theories. Witty and heavily reasoned, trendy Nonsense dispels the inspiration that medical theories are mere "narratives" or social structures, and explores the talents and the boundaries of technological know-how to explain the stipulations of life. e-book jacket."--Jacket

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9 Kristeva’s early writings relied strongly (and abusively) on mathematics, but she abandoned this approach more than twenty years ago; we criticize them here because we consider them symptomatic of a certain intellectual style. The other authors, by contrast, have all invoked science extensively in their work. Latour’s writings provide considerable grist for the mill of contemporary relativism and are based on an allegedly rigorous analysis of scientific practice. The works of Baudrillard, Deleuze, Guattari and Virilio are filled with seemingly erudite references to relativity, quantum mechanics, chaos theory, etc.

Here is an excerpt from Lacan’s lecture: This diagram [the Möbius strip17] can be considered the basis of a sort of essential inscription at the origin, in the knot which constitutes the subject. This goes much further than you may think at first, because you can search for the sort of surface able to receive such inscriptions. You can perhaps see that the sphere, that old symbol for totality, is unsuitable. A torus, a Klein bottle, a cross-cut surface18, are able to receive such a cut. And this diversity is very important as it explains many things about the structure of mental disease.

Finally, we thank Marina, Claire, Thomas, and Antoine for having put up with us for the past two years. I. Introduction So long as authority inspires awe, confusion and absurdity enhance conservative tendencies in society. Firstly, because clear and logical thinking leads to a cumulation of knowledge (of which the progress of the natural sciences provides the best example) and the advance of knowledge sooner or later undermines the traditional order. Confused thinking, on the other hand, leads nowhere in particular and can be indulged indefinitely without producing any impact upon the world.

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