Review of Intellectual Impostures [Book Review]


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This is the follow-up book to the notorious Sokal Hoax. It includes the original article that appeared in the Spring 1996 issue of Social Text, along with an explication of all the relatively minor errors and jokes planted in the article that would have been caught by the cognoscenti in physics. That alone has been sufficient to attract global media attention about the alleged lack of quality control in cultural studies scholarship. However, Sokal and Bricmont are out for bigger game. They want to trace these lapses from professionalism to a relativist philosophical sensibility, which in turn is held responsible for the dissipation of the US academic left. Since I have dealt with the larger aspects of this thesis elsewhere, I shall largely confine myself to the 'intermezzo' chapter four, where relativism is attacked directly on what are alleged to be philosophical grounds
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