[extropy-chat] FWD (forteana) Postmodern essay generator---

Terry W. Colvin fortean1 at mindspring.com
Fri Apr 2 15:32:37 UTC 2004

FWD (forteana) Postmodern essay generator---was Re: [forteana] FWD
[extropy-chat] Re: David Ray Griffin on "eliminative" vs.
"constructive" [...]

         This program generating a completely original postmodern essay
complete with all the proper buzz-words reminds me an awful lot of that
great mid-1990's hoax spoofing trendy postmodernism: NYU mathematics
professor Alan Sokal's 1996 _Social Text_ magazine article called, as I
recall, something like "An Emancipatory Hermeneutics of Quantum
Gravitation." Sokal pretended to argue that conventional scientific
theories of gravitation were just white male bourgeois logocentric
ideological constructs reinforcing sexism, racism, colonialism,
imperialism, and capitalism. Liberated progressive pro-feminist
pro-Afrocentric thinkers, Sokal implied, had no need to believe in
gravity. Sokal then confessed that the whole thing had been just a
tongue-in-cheek satiric spoof of trendy pseudo-intellectual pseudo-
radical "postmodernist" nonsense. Alan Sokal, I think, would have just
LOVED John K. Clark's postmodern essay generator!
                         Ducking and running,
                         T. Peter

Terry W. Colvin fwded:
> Speaking of postmodern philosophy, I highly recommend the postmodern
> generator at
> http://www.elsewhere.org/cgi-bin/postmodern/ .
> In just a few seconds this wonderful program wail generate a completely
> original post modern essay complete with all the proper buzz words, it even
> has footnotes. I have found it to be every bit as deep as post modern essays
> written by human beings.
>     John K Clark


Friends, Forteans, philosophers!
        New York University physicist Alan Sokal's 1996 _Social Text_ article
spoofing trendy postmodern verbiage was "Transgressing the Boundaries:
Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravitation." It
appeared in _Social Text's_ special "Science Wars" issue devoted to
discussing science as a politicized cultural activity and scientific
theories as ideologically driven social constructs. Sokal's article was
a hilarious compilation of fashionable postmodernist gibberish and
double-talk, bristling with quotations from all the (mostly French)
trendy postmodernist thinkers--Derrida, Lacan, Lyotard, Irigaray,
_Social Text_ board member Stanley Aronowitz, "Science Wars" issue
editor Andrew Ross, etc. The thesis of Sokal's jargon-ridden word-salad
was that the physical concept of quantum gravitation has important
affinities with various "counterhegemonic" New Age and postmodern ideas,
especially with Rupert Sheldrake's "morphogenetic fields." Sokal
concluded with a call for "emancipatory mathematics," noting that the
"counterhegemonic" theory of quantum gravity had implications for
"political goals and strategies." He then confessed and exposed his own
prank in _Lingua Franca_ magazine. 
                                T. Peter <tpeterpark at erols.com>
                                Garden City South, LI, NY

"Only a zit on the wart on the heinie of progress." Copyright 1992, Frank Rice

Terry W. Colvin, Sierra Vista, Arizona (USA) < fortean1 at mindspring.com >
     Alternate: < fortean1 at msn.com >
Home Page: < http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Stargate/8958/index.html >
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