Intellectual Impostures by Alan Sokal, Jean Bricmont

By Alan Sokal, Jean Bricmont

While Intellectual Impostures was once released in France, it despatched surprise waves during the Left financial institution institution. while it was once released in Britain, it provoked impassioned debate. Sokal and Bricmont study the canon of French postmodernists - Lacan, Kristeva, Baudrillard, Irigaray, Latour, Virilio, Deleuze and Guattari - and systematically divulge their abuse of technology.

This variation incorporates a new preface analysing the reactions to the booklet and answering a number of the assaults.

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Where is the analogon? Either this loss exists or it doesn’t exist. 17 18 A Möbius strip can be constructed taking a rectangular strip of paper, twisting one of the short sides by 180 degrees, and gluing it to the other short side. In this way, one produces a surface with only one face: ‘front’ and ‘back’ are connected by a continuous path. A torus is the surface formed by a hollow tire. A Klein bottle is rather like a Möbius strip, but without an edge; to represent it concretely, one needs a Euclidean space of dimension at least four.

This thesis is nowadays sharply criticized by some linguists: see, for example, Pinker (1995, pp. 57–67). 01 Intellectual 01-03:01 Intellectual 01-03 27/7/11 16:52 Page 39 JULIA KRISTEVA 39 continuum where 0 denotes and 1 is implicitly transgressed. (Kristeva 1969, pp. 150–1, italics in the original)39 In this excerpt, Kristeva makes one correct assertion and two mistakes. The correct assertion is that poetic sentences cannot, in general, be evaluated as true or false. Now, in mathematical logic, the symbols 0 and 1 are used to denote ‘false’ and ‘true’, respectively; it is in this sense that Boole’s logic uses the set {0,1}.

But in order to speak about social reality, you must have the proper credentials, particularly if you depart from the accepted framework of thinking. Generally speaking, it seems fair to say that the richer the intellectual substance of a field, the less there is a concern for credentials, and the greater is the concern for content. (Chomsky 1979, pp. 6–7) 01 Intellectual 01-03:01 Intellectual 01-03 12 27/7/11 16:52 Page 12 INTELLECTUAL IMPOSTURES be classified, very roughly, into two distinct categories, corresponding roughly to two distinct phases in French intellectual life.

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