Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science
Author: Alan Sokal,Jean Bricmont
View: 7008In 1996 physicist Alan Sokal published an essay in Social Text--an influential academic journal of cultural studies--touting the deep similarities between quantum gravitational theory and postmodern philosophy. Soon thereafter, the essay was revealed as a brilliant parody, a catalog of nonsense written in the cutting-edge but impenetrable lingo of postmodern theorists. The event sparked a furious debate in academic circles and made the headlines of newspapers in the U.S. and abroad. Now in Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science, Sokal and his fellow physicist Jean Bricmont expand from where the hoax left off. In a delightfully witty and clear voice, the two thoughtfully and thoroughly dismantle the pseudo-scientific writings of some of the most fashionable French and American intellectuals. More generally, they challenge the widespread notion that scientific theories are mere "narrations" or social constructions.
The New Attacks on Free Thought, Expanded Edition
Author: Jonathan Rauch
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
View: 6193“A liberal society stands on the proposition that we should all take seriously the idea that we might be wrong. This means we must place no one, including ourselves, beyond the reach of criticism; it means that we must allow people to err, even where the error offends and upsets, as it often will.” So writes Jonathan Rauch in Kindly Inquisitors, which has challenged readers for more than twenty years with its bracing and provocative exploration of the issues surrounding attempts to limit free speech. In it, Rauch makes a persuasive argument for the value of “liberal science” and the idea that conflicting views produce knowledge within society. In this expanded edition of Kindly Inquisitors, a new foreword by George F. Will strikingly shows the book’s continued relevance, while a substantial new afterword by Rauch elaborates upon his original argument and brings it fully up to date. Two decades after the book’s initial publication, while some progress has been made, the regulation of hate speech has grown domestically—especially in American universities—and has spread even more internationally, where there is no First Amendment to serve as a meaningful check. But the answer to bias and prejudice, Rauch argues, is pluralism—not purism. Rather than attempting to legislate bias and prejudice out of existence or to drive them underground, we must pit them against one another to foster a more vigorous and fruitful discussion. It is this process that has been responsible for the growing acceptance of the moral acceptability of homosexuality over the last twenty years. And it is this process, Rauch argues, that will enable us as a society to replace hate with knowledge, both ethical and empirical. “It is a melancholy fact that this elegant book, which is slender and sharp as a stiletto, is needed, now even more than two decades ago. Armed with it, readers can slice through the pernicious ideas that are producing the still-thickening thicket of rules, codes, and regulations restricting freedom of thought and expression.”—George F. Will, from the foreword
A Very Short Introduction
Author: Christopher Butler
Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks
View: 2564'a pre-eminently sane, lucid, and concise statement about the central issues, the key examples, and the notorious derilections of postmodernism. I feel a fresh wind blowing away the miasma coiling around the topic. ' -Ihab Hassan, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee'the most intellectually incisive, coherent and comprehensive meditation upon the history and significance of postmodernism that I have yet encountered.' -Patricia Waugh, University of Durham'easily the best introduction to postmodernism currently available' -Hans Bertens, Utrecht University
The Founders, the Golden Age, the Breakdown
Author: Leszek Kołakowski,Paul Stephen Falla
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
View: 4178A single-volume edition of the three-part study of Marxism provides a comprehensive history of the origins, structure, and posthumous development of the Marxist thought system, tracing its intellectual foundations from Plotonius through the philosophies of such figures as Lenin, Sarte, and Mao, in an publication complemented by a new preface and epilogue.
Author: Glenn Ward
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Educational Division
View: 2558Postmodernism embodies the idea that there are no new ideas to be invented - everything is borrowed from previous times and we live in a post-modern age. This book is the essential introduction to postmodernism and offers an indispensible guide to this sometimes demanding terrain. It is aimed at readers encountering theories of postmodernism for the first time, and places the subject in a wide context. It will appeal to all those studying the subject academically and anyone with a desire to know more. Teach Yourself Postmoderism puts forward a number of ideas and debates which are both stimulating and worthwhile. Chapters are organised around broad themes and concerns rather than around individual ideologies, schools of thought or art-forms. This allows the reader to tailor the subject matter to their own interests and requirements.
Science, Philosophy and Culture
Author: Alan Sokal
Publisher: OUP Oxford
View: 7477In 1996, Alan Sokal, a Professor of Physics at New York University, wrote a paper for the cultural-studies journal Social Text, entitled 'Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a transformative hermeneutics of quantum gravity'. It was reviewed, accepted and published. Sokal immediately confessed that the whole article was a hoax - a cunningly worded paper designed to expose and parody the style of extreme postmodernist criticism of science. The story became front-page news around the world and triggered fierce and wide-ranging controversy. Sokal is one of the most powerful voices in the continuing debate about the status of evidence-based knowledge. In Beyond the Hoax he turns his attention to a new set of targets - pseudo-science, religion, and misinformation in public life. 'Whether my targets are the postmodernists of the left, the fundamentalists of the right, or the muddle-headed of all political and apolitical stripes, the bottom line is that clear thinking, combined with a respect for evidence, are of the utmost importance to the survival of the human race in the twenty-first century.' The book also includes a hugely illuminating annotated text of the Hoax itself, and a reflection on the furore it provoked.
Author: Brian McHale
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Category: Literary Criticism
View: 8102The Cambridge Introduction to Postmodernism surveys the full spectrum of postmodern culture - high and low, avant-garde and popular, famous and obscure - across a range of fields, from architecture and visual art to fiction, poetry, and drama. It deftly maps postmodernism's successive historical phases, from its emergence in the 1960s to its waning in the first decades of the twenty-first century. Weaving together multiple strands of postmodernism - people and places from Andy Warhol, Jefferson Airplane and magical realism, to Jean-François Lyotard, Laurie Anderson and cyberpunk - this book creates a rich picture of a complex cultural phenomenon that continues to exert an influence over our present 'post-postmodern' situation. Comprehensive and accessible, this Introduction is indispensable for scholars, students, and general readers interested in late twentieth-century culture.
The Radical Assault on Truth in American Law
Author: Daniel A. Farber,Suzanna Sherry
Publisher: Oxford University Press
View: 1835Would you want to be operated on by a surgeon trained at a medical school that did not evaluate its students? Would you want to fly in a plane designed by people convinced that the laws of physics are socially constructed? Would you want to be tried by a legal system indifferent to the distinction between fact and fiction? These questions may seem absurd, but these are theories being seriously advanced by radical multiculturalists that force us to ask them. These scholars assert that such concepts as truth and merit are inextricably racist and sexist, that reason and objectivity are merely sophisticated masks for ideological bias, and that reality itself is nothing more than a socially constructed mechanism for preserving the power of the ruling elite. In Beyond All Reason, liberal legal scholars Daniel A. Farber and Suzanna Sherry mount the first systematic critique of radical multiculturalism as a form of legal scholarship. Beginning with an incisive overview of the origins and basic tenets of radical multiculturalism, the authors critically examine the work of Derrick Bell, Catherine MacKinnon, Patricia Williams, and Richard Delgado, and explore the alarming implications of their theories. Farber and Sherry push these theories to their logical conclusions and show that radical multiculturalism is destructive of the very goals it wishes to affirm. If, for example, the concept of advancement based on merit is fraudulent, as the multiculturalists claim, the disproportionate success of Jews and Asians in our culture becomes difficult to explain without opening the door to age-old anti-Semitic and racist stereotypes. If historical and scientific truths are entirely relative social constructs, then Holocaust denial becomes merely a matter of perspective, and Creationism has as much "validity" as evolution. The authors go on to show that rather than promoting more dialogue, the radical multiculturalist preferences for legal storytelling and identity politics over reasoned argument produces an insular set of positions that resist open debate. Indeed, radical multiculturalists cannot critically examine each others' ideas without incurring vehement accusations of racism and sexism, much less engage in fruitful discussion with a mainstream that does not share their assumptions. Here again, Farber and Sherry show that the end result of such thinking is not freedom but a kind of totalitarianism where dissent cannot be tolerated and only the naked will to power remains to settle differences. Sharply written and brilliantly argued, this book is itself a model of the kind of clarity, civility, and dispassionate critical thinking which the authors seek to preserve from the attacks of the radical multiculturalists. With far-reaching implications for such issues as government control of hate speech and pornography, affirmative action, legal reform, and the fate of all minorities, Beyond All Reason is a provocative contribution to one of the most important controversies of our time.
Thinkers of the New Left
Author: Roger Scruton
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Category: Political Science
View: 1453The thinkers who have been most influential on the attitudes of the New Left are examined in this study by one of the leading critics of leftist orientations in modern Western civilization. Scruton begins with a ruthless analysis of New Leftism and concludes with a critique of the key strands in its thinking. He conducts a reappraisal of such major left-wing thinkers as: E. P. Thompson, Ronald Dworkin, R. D. Laing, Jurgen Habermas, Gyorgy Lukacs, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Derrida, Slavoj Zizek, Ralph Milliband and Eric Hobsbawm. In addition to assessments of these thinkers' philosophical and political contributions, the book contains a biographical and bibliographical section summarizing their careers and most important writings. In Thinkers of the New Left Scruton asks, what does the Left look like today and as it has evolved since 1989? He charts the transfer of grievances from the working class to women, gays and immigrants, asks what can we put in the place of radical egalitarianism, and what explains the continued dominance of antinomian attitudes in the intellectual world? Can there be any foundation for resistance to the leftist agenda without religious faith? Scruton's exploration of these important issues is written with skill, perception and at all times with pellucid clarity. The result is a devastating critique of modern left-wing thinking.
Religion, Politics, and the Modern West
Author: Mark Lilla
View: 6111A brilliant account of religion's role in the political thinking of the West, from the Enlightenment to the close of World War II. The wish to bring political life under God's authority is nothing new, and it's clear that today religious passions are again driving world politics, confounding expectations of a secular future. In this major book, Mark Lilla reveals the sources of this age-old quest-and its surprising role in shaping Western thought. Making us look deeper into our beliefs about religion, politics, and the fate of civilizations, Lilla reminds us of the modern West's unique trajectory and how to remain on it. Illuminating and challenging, The Stillborn God is a watershed in the history of ideas. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Intellectuals in Politics
Author: Mark Lilla
Publisher: New York Review of Books
View: 1490In 1953 Czeslaw Milosz published The Captive Mind, his classic study of how intellectuals in postwar Eastern Europe were tempted to collaborate with the Communist system under which they lived. But they were hardly unique. European history of the past century is full of examples of philosophers, writers, and jurists who, whether they lived in democratic, Communist, or fascist societies, supported and defended totalitarian principles and horrific regimes.
Multiculturalism and Political Intolerance on Campus
Author: David O. Sacks,Peter A. Thiel
Publisher: Independent Inst
View: 5019This is a powerful exploration of the debilitating impact that politically-correct “multiculturalism” has had upon higher education and academic freedom in the United States. In the name of diversity, many leading academic and cultural institutions are working to silence dissent and stifle intellectual life. This book exposes the real impact of multiculturalism on the institution most closely identified with the politically correct decline of higher education—Stanford University. Authored by two Stanford graduates, this book is a compelling insider’s tour of a world of speech codes, “dumbed-down” admissions standards and curricula, campus witch hunts, and anti-Western zealotry that masquerades as legitimate scholarly inquiry. Sacks and Thiel use numerous primary sources—the Stanford Daily, class readings, official university publications—to reveal a pattern of politicized classes, housing, budget priorities, and more. They trace the connections between such disparate trends as political correctness, the gender wars, Generation X nihilism, and culture wars, showing how these have played a role in shaping multiculturalism at institutions like Stanford. The authors convincingly show that multiculturalism is not about learning more; it is actually about learning less. They end their comprehensive study by detailing the changes necessary to reverse the tragic disintegration of American universities and restore true academic excellence.
The Anti-Industrial Revolution
Author: Ayn Rand
Category: Political Science
View: 7198In the tumultuous late 60s and early 70s, a social movement known as the "New Left" emerged as a major cultural influence, especially on the youth of America. It was a movement that embraced "flower-power" and psychedelic "consciousness-expansion," that lionized Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro and launched the Black Panthers and the Theater of the Absurd.In Return Of The Primitive (originally published in 1971 as The New Left), Ayn Rand, bestselling novelist and originator of the theory of Objectivism, identified the intellectual roots of this movement. She urged people to repudiate its mindless nihilism and to uphold, instead, a philosophy of reason, individualism, capitalism, and technological progress.Editor Peter Schwartz, in this new, expanded version of The New Left, has reorganized Rand's essays and added some of his own in order to underscore the continuing relevance of her analysis of that period. He examines such current ideologies as feminism, environmentalism and multiculturalism and argues that the same primitive, tribalist, "anti-industrial" mentality which animated the New Left a generation ago is shaping society today.
Author: Stanley J. Grenz
Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
View: 9209Grenz examines the topography of postmodernism, a phenomenon everyone acknowledges, but has difficulty describing with precision. Of particular significance is his discussion of the challenges this cultural shift presents to the church.