Clarity, Charity and Criticism, Wit, Wisdom and Worldliness; Avoiding Intellectual Impositions

Intellectual Impostures seemed at first to create something of dilemma for me. My position was obviously an example of the kind that Sokal and Bricmont's set out to critique, but I found myself entertaining a variety of responses, why be so nasty, so sneering, why overstate the case, why attribute failings of individual's arguments to all of some supposedly homogeneous group be they constructivists, sociologists of science postmodernists or whatever? Why be so earnestly tendentious? Yet, did I not agree with much with what they had to say? I too find plenty of contemporary scholarship obscure and irrelevant, and most importantly, I agree with them about the necessity of criticism, especially political criticism. Hence it seemed inappropriate to respond with equally over the top denunciation. Fortunately, I had time to look at some of the associated literature particularly Flight From Science and Reason and A House Built on Sand where I discovered two writers dealing with important issues in the Culture Wars. Philip Kitcher trying to find some middle ground and a way to recognise that some important and valuable work is being done in Science Studies, and Meera Nanda formulating some telling criticisms of the 'localist' thesis including some of my own work.
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