Sokal, Alan. Fashionable nonsense: postmodern intellectuals’ abuse of science. / Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and. INTRODUCTION. Fashionable Nonsense Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science. By ALAN SOKAL and JEAN BRICMONT Picador USA. So long as. Fashionable Nonsense by Alan Sokal Explaining Postmodernism by Stephen R.C. Hicks Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer The Dictionary .
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What kind of literary style would you cultivate? Not a lucid one, surely, for clarity would expose your lack of content.
Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science by Alan Sokal
The chances are that you would produce something like the following: We can clearly see that there is no bi-univocal correspondence between linear signifying links sokall archi-writing, depending on the author, and this multireferential, multi-dimensional machinic catalysis. The symmetry of scale, the transversality, the pathic non-discursive character of their expansion: Guattari’s close collaborator, the late Gilles Deleuze, had a similar talent for writing: In the first place, singularities-events correspond to heterogeneous series which are organized into a system which is neither stable nor unstable, but rather ‘metastable’, nonsennse with a potential energy wherein the differences between series are distributed In the second place, singularities possess a process of auto-unification, always mobile and displaced to the extent that a paradoxical element traverses the series and makes them resonate, enveloping the corresponding singular points in a single aleatory point and all the emissions, all dice throws, in a single cast.
This calls to mind Peter Medawar’s nonsnse characterization of a certain type of French intellectual style note, in passing, the contrast offered by Medawar’s own elegant and clear prose: Style has become an object of first importance, nonsemse what a style it is!
For me it has a aalan, 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. It has had a deplorable influence on the quality of modern thought Returning to attack the same targets from another angle, Medawar says: I could quote evidence of the beginnings of a whispering campaign against the virtues of clarity.
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. What a preposterously silly idea!
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. He, however, was being funny on purpose.
Since Medawar’s time, the whispering campaign has raised its voice. Deleuze and Guattari have written and collaborated on books described by the celebrated Michel Foucault as “among the greatest of the great Some day, perhaps, the century will be Deleuzian. For the rest, we leave it to the reader to judge.
No doubt there exist thoughts so profound that most of fashoonable will not understand the language in which they are expressed.
And no doubt there is also language designed to be unintelligible in order to conceal an absence of honest thought.
But how are we to tell the difference? What if it really takes an expert eye to detect whether the emperor has clothes? In particular, how shall we know whether the modish French ‘philosophy’, whose disciples and exponents have all but taken over large sections of American academic life, is genuinely profound or the vacuous rhetoric of mountebanks and charlatans?
They have limited their critique to those books that have ventured to invoke concepts from physics and mathematics. Here they know what they are talking about, and their verdict is unequivocal.
On Jacques Lacan, for example, whose name is revered by many in humanities departments throughout US and Nnosense universities, no doubt partly because he simulates a profound understanding of mathematics: His ‘definition’ of compactness is not just false: They go on to quote the following remarkable piece of reasoning by Lacan: Thus, by calculating that signification according to the algebraic method used here, namely: