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Sokal Affair: top pick?

  1. Jun 24, 2013 #1
    I wanted to read a book about the Sokal Affair, and see there are many options. I was wondering if anyone had an opinion one way or the other. Some options:

    The Sokal Hoax, by lingua franca editors
    Intellectual Impostors, by Sokal
    Fashionable Nonsense, by Sokal
    Beyond the Hoax, by Sokal
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 24, 2013 #2


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    How do you define something that is indefinable? That's sort of what postmodernism is, post being definable. Modernism was about structure and definiteness, postmodernism is about reaction and change, or I should say, pseudochange, change but without getting somewhere.

    So take a bunch of intellectuals who write in this way and whatever they write about is going to be a load of rubbish, just for the reason that it doesn't have a conclusion. It is merely an experience, one of many.

    My point is that you should not expect to get a clear critique of postmodernism, except as a bunch of people writing rubbish and journals that published it. Given the small scope of the subject, probably any book will be equally good.
  4. Jun 27, 2013 #3
    First, note that Intellectual Impostures is just the UK title for Fashionable Nonsense, so there's no need to read both. Second, it was co-authored by Jean Bricmont, and it'd be rude to forget about him.

    I've read Fashionable Nonsense and Beyond the Hoax. I enjoyed the latter less, since it was, though expanded, largely a repetition of the points made in the first book (but with annotations, hurrah...). I guess it depends on what you're after. Fashionable Nonsense seemed more to the point and arrived when it actually happened, while Beyond the Hoax arrived later and contains more responses to the critiques of the first book.

    The Sokal Hoax seems to repeat (yet again) the original hoax article and the essay exposing the hoax. You can get these equally well in Sokal's two books, but this one also contains a lot of articles discussing how important the hoax was etc. Seemed tedious to me, and I didn't even try to find a copy.
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