Re: the arrogance of postmodern mumbo jumbo

Robert Snower (
Sat, 14 Sep 1996 22:35:12 GMT

Stephen Barnard <> wrote:

>In May, 1996 Alan Sokal, a physicist at NYU, published a paper in
>_Social_Text_, a leading journal of cultural studies. The title of this
>paper was "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative
>Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity."

>It was transparent bullshit, or a brilliant parody, depending on your
>point of view. Sokal's intention was to see whether such a journal
>would accept this parody at face value, just because it parroted the
>required postmodern jargon and reached the politically correct
>conclusions that the editors liked.

>That this journal could be taken in by such a broad parody, which was
>obviously a parody to any reasonably intelligent undergraduate in
>physical science, reveals a lot about the arrogance of the postmodern
>campus left. The editors never even considered sending it for review to
>someone who might be able to understand the technical "arguments."

>By the way, Sokal is a leftist and has impeccible leftist credentials.
>He just doesn't like the sloppy thinking that he sees in academic

>If anyone is interested in learning more about this fascinating event
>take a look at the web page


> Steve Barnard

>P.S. I've included an except from Sokal's article to give the flavor of

Thanks for guiding me to this. Informative and interesting. It added
to my conviction that the postmodernist cultural studies movement is
an odd alliance of having something important to say on the one hand,
and on the other, a leftist collectivist movement that is a loser, and
dead wrong, in my opinion.

Best wishes. R. Snower