Llew's Reviews > Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science

Fashionable Nonsense by Alan Sokal
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's review
Mar 06, 2011

really liked it

By themselves, the quotes used in this book are some of the finest examples of academic horseshit one might ever hope to come across. I still love a good meandering philosophy tome, but there is something highly important about what Sokal and company are doing here. This idea that, at a certain point, abusing science and math to continue your ideas is dumbing down the populace. That relativism may be used for cultural anthropology, but it needs to be abandoned when used in scientific understanding.

There's some leeway given to Baudrillard who is given his own chapter, yet I still appreciate, as i think people understand that he's being ridiculous and not necessarily putting across formal theses. Lacan on the other hand, where he's giving a formal argument based on flawed understanding of well-known scientific ideas, comes across as just sad.

Sokal knows his science, and they give good counter-proof that, no Quantum Relativity of the mind doesn't make sense and that's not how topology works, although the book fails when they try to provide a proper philosophy of science and epistemology. They give some time try to argue down questions like, "how do we know this is reality", and it meanders like the texts they are critiquing.

Still, very essential that they wrote this.


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