Imposturas Intelectuais (Alan Sokal & Jean Bricmont). 2 likes. Book. The Reception of the Sokal Affair in France—”Pomo” Hunting or Intellectual Mccarthyism?: A Propos of Impostures Intellectuelles by A. Sokal and J. Bricmont. Back to Alan Sokal’s Physics Department Page (see also old page) .. , Trimestre 2, ); Review of Imposturas Intelectuais, by Sara.
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Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science French: Sokal is best known for the Sokal Affairin which he submitted a deliberately absurd article  to Social Texta critical theory journal, and was able to get it published.
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. According to some reports, the response within the humanities was “polarized. Responses from the scientific community were more supportive.
The intelevtuais goal of the book is not to attack “philosophy, the humanities or the social sciences in general Sokal and Bricmont set out to show how those intellectuals have used concepts from the physical sciences and mathematics incorrectly.
The extracts are intentionally rather long to avoid accusations of taking sentences out of context. Sokal and Bricmont claim that they do not intend to analyze postmodernist thought in general. 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.
Sokal and Bricmont define abuse of mathematics and physics as:. The book gives a chapter to each of the above-mentioned authors, “the tip of the iceberg” of a group of intellectual practices that can be described as “mystification, deliberately obscure language, confused thinking and the misuse of inelectuais concepts.
Imposturas Intelectuais, de Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont
Sokal and Bricmont highlight the rising tide of what they call cognitive relativismthe belief that there are no objective truths but only local beliefs. 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. Their aim is “not to criticize the left, but to help defend it from a trendy segment of itself.
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 some enraged;  in some reading groupsreaction was polarized between impassioned supporters and equally impassioned opponents of Sokal.
The philosopher Thomas Nagel has supported Sokal and Bricmont, describing their inteelectuais as consisting largely of “extensive quotations of scientific gibberish from name-brand French intellectuals, together with eerily patient explanations of why it is gibberish,”  and agreeing that “there does seem to be something about the Parisian scene that is particularly hospitable to reckless verbosity.
Several scientists have expressed similar sentiments. Richard Dawkinsin a review of this book, said regarding the discussion of Lacan: Perhaps he is genuine when he speaks of non-scientific subjects? But a philosopher who is caught im;osturas the erectile organ to the square root of minus one has, for my money, blown implsturas credentials when it comes to things that I don’t know anything about.
Noam Chomsky called the book “very important” and said that “a lot of the so-called ‘left’ criticism [of science] seems to be pure nonsense”.
Sara Farmhouse Bizarro, Imposturas Intelectuais, de Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont – PhilPapers
Limiting her considerations to physics, science hystorian Mara Beller  maintained that it was not entirely fair to blame contemporary postmodern philosophers for drawing nonsensical conclusions from quantum physics which they did dosince many such conclusions were drawn by some of the leading quantum physicists themselves, such as Bohr or Heisenberg when they ventured into philosophy. The book has been criticized by post-modern philosophers and by scholars with some interest in continental philosophy.
Bruce Fink offers a critique in his book Lacan to the Letterwhere he accuses Sokal and Bricmont of demanding that “serious writing” do nothing other than “convey clear meanings”. He takes Sokal and Bricmont to task for elevating a disagreement with Lacan’s choice of writing styles to an attack on his thought, which, impossturas Fink’s assessment, they fail to understand.
Fink says that “Lacan could easily assume that his faithful seminar public This latter point has been disputed by Arkady Plotnitsky one intelecuais the authors mentioned by Sokal in his original hoax.
However, with regard to the second sense, which Impostyras describes by ibtelectuais that “all imaginary and complex numbers are, by definition, irrational,”  mathematicians agree with Sokal and Bricmont in not taking complex numbers as irrational. While Fink and Plotnitsky question Sokal and Bricmont’s right to say what definitions of scientific terms are correct, cultural theorists and literary critics Andrew Milner and Jeff Browitt acknowledge that right, seeing it as “defend[ing] their disciplines against what they saw as a misappropriation of key terms and concepts” by writers such as Lacan and Irigaray.
They also suggest that, in criticising Irigaray, Sokal and Bricmont sometimes go beyond their area of expertise in the sciences and simply express a differing position on gender politics. In Jacques Derrida ‘s response, “Sokal and Bricmont Aren’t Serious,” first published in Le MondeDerrida writes that the Sokal hoax is rather “sad,” not only because Alan Sokal’s name is now linked primarily to a hoaxnot to sciencebut also because the chance to reflect seriously on this issue has been ruined for a broad public forum that deserves better.
He calls it ridiculous and weird that there are intensities of treatment by the scientists, in particular, that he was “much less badly treated,” when in fact he was the main target of the US press. He suggests there are plenty of scientists who have pointed out the difficulty of attacking his response. He then writes of his hope that in the future this work is pursued more seriously and with dignity at the level of the issues involved.
Probably no one concerned with postmodernism has remained unaware of it. People have been bitterly divided.
Some are delighted, some are enraged. One friend of mine told me that Sokal’s article came up in a meeting of a left reading group that he belongs to.
The discussion became polarized between impassioned supporters and equally impassioned opponents of Sokal [ From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science Cover of the first edition. Retrieved March 5, Archived from the original on May 12, Retrieved 15 April Event occurs at 3: Somal 25 June At Whom Are We Laughing? Lacan to the Letter. University of Minnesota Press. London Review of Books. The Knowable and the Unknowable.
University of Michigan Press. Number Theory for Computing 2nd ed. Two Millennia of Mathematics: From Archimedes to Gauss. Contemporary Cultural Theory 3rd ed.