9 Jul Dawkins Review of Intellectual Impostures. Guattari, one of many fashionable French ‘intellectuals’ outed by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont in. Buy Intellectual Impostures Main by Jean Bricmont, Alan Sokal (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on. Intellectual Impostures eBook: Jean Bricmont, Alan Sokal: : Kindle Store.

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It might be argued that these concepts are used as metaphors, or are to be understood as intellecttual, however the purpose of analogy ought to be to make things clearer, where here it serves only to obscure.

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. Professor Alan Sokal was concerned by what he saw as the low standards of intellectual rigour in some fashionable areas of the American academic humanities and social sciences, so he wrote an article, based on authentic quotes from famous French and American intellectuals about mathematics and physics, but so illogical that he thought noone could possibly defend it.

What inntellectual preposterously silly idea! Its supporters will read it as confirmation of things they intellfctual they already know as your letters pages amply showwhile its critics have shown that they will not tolerate dissent. Of course one does not have to be a Popperian to see the role of empirical testing as fundamental: At any moment I expected Sturrock to mention Malley and the parallels between the two cases.

Is this the kind of reality Wood wants us to attribute to atoms? Number Theory for Computing 2nd ed. Lacan to the Letter. One feels they are saying explicitly what is implicit but unsaid in the work of many professional philosophers. The conclusions reached are not proved by careful explanation but simply announced with the implication that the reasoning is obvious.

The chances are that you would produce something like the following: As the book explains, the problem is that much of what these impostuures write is utterly meaningless. Print Hardcover and Paperback.

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Theory may be speculative, but it must contain at least some potential for proof. There are more than two million known chemical compounds: His was a hoax barely worth the perpetration. They quote Chomsky on the frustrating experiences that he had intellecctual mingling earlier in the Nineties with the intelligent young in Egypt: They are accused of appropriating or denigrating the concepts of natural science in their writings and lectures without ever understanding these concepts in the first place.

The history of science abounds with examples of empirical facts which called into question dominant theories models, paradigms or, if you insist, discoursesthe most well-known, perhaps, being the Michelson-Morley experiment, and the discrepancies in the orbit of Mercury, both of which challenged the dominant Newtonian worldview, and led eventually to its supersession by the Einsteinian model.

Responses from the scientific community were more supportive.

John Sturrock reviews ‘Intellectual Impostures’ by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont · LRB 16 July

They have limited their critique to those books that have ventured to invoke concepts from physics and mathematics. The discussion became polarized between impassioned supporters and equally impassioned opponents of Sokal [ It ought, impostyres, to be expressed in language of some clarity at least to specialistsrather than being wrapped in clouds of obscurity so thick that no rain can possibly come from them.

intellectyal He, however, was being funny on purpose. Let us make the hypothesis that it is insofar as it privileges the speed of light over other speeds that are vitally necessary to us. They quote the following beginning of a word sentence from Paul Virilio. This is the diametrical opposite of the way science operates. From Archimedes to Gauss. Anyone familiar with contemporary writings in the fields of social science, cultural criticism and continental philosophy will recognise the pompous, verbose, self-important and entirely humourless style that Sokal and Bricmont criticise.

An essential property — namely, the existence of a proof-checking algorithm — is omitted. And no doubt there is also language designed to be unintelligible in order to conceal an absence of honest thought. Imposturess Wood is breathtakingly confident about his grasp of the notion of metaphor; but his grasp of the relationship between representations itellectual reality is tenuous in the imposturea at least, if his own analogies are anything to go by.


Cover of the first edition. The book has been criticized by post-modern philosophers and by scholars with some interest in continental philosophy.

Retrieved March 5, Hughes Siena Sokal and Bricmont must have been very gratified to receive a review that so perfectly exemplified their thesis and so amply justified their concerns. But John Sturrock fluffs it. Sokal and Bricmont would not approve; but Terence Hawkes would salivate. This is the quotation in Sokal and Bricmont: Since Medawar’s impoatures, the whispering campaign has raised its voice.

Of course, music is a representation, and it is a reality.

Le pauvre Sokal

For this two-man vigilante patrol has something bigger in mind than simply to catch out a few LFFs in acts of lese-science. Retrieved from ” https: The impostkres of a journal like Social Text is opposite: Book for book, market for market, debate for debate, Sokal and Bricmont are so outnumbered that the sight of Sturrock stamping them down is disturbing. Hopefully not on whether the articles you print make any sense. That would have added to the fizzle in their journal. And he has the chutzpah to accuse us of insulting our humanist colleagues?


On the other hand, if John Sturrock really is your consulting editor, what on earth do you consult him on? The book is aimed not so much at these individual writers but at the very tone of voice adopted by cultural and academic intellectuals over the last 25 years. Rather, they aim to draw attention to the impstures of concepts from mathematics and physics, subjects they’ve devoted their careers to studying and teaching.

This latter point has been disputed by Arkady Plotnitsky one of the authors mentioned by Sokal in his original hoax. Retrieved 25 June Their aim is “not to criticize the left, but to help defend it from a trendy segment of itself.