Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Why PoMo is Self-Defeating (iii)

While popular among a part of the anti-mainstream economics blogosphere, I'm not a regular of this blog.

Credit is due, however, to the blogger (who uses a peculiar moniker) for this Noam Chomsky quote on Postmodernism/Post-structuralism:
"Some of the people in these cults (which is what they look like to me) I've met: Foucault (we even have a several-hour discussion, which is in print, and spent quite a few hours in very pleasant conversation, on real issues, and using language that was perfectly comprehensible-he speaking French, me English); Lacan (who I met several times and considered an amusing and perfectly self-conscious charlatan, though his earlier work, pre-cult, was sensible and I've discussed it in print); Kristeva (who I met only briefly during the period when she was a fervent Maoist); and others. Many of them I haven't met, because I am very remote from these circles, by choice, preferring quite different and far broader ones-the kinds where I give talks, have interviews, take part in activities, write dozens of long letters every week, etc. I've dipped into what they write out of curiosity, but not very far, for reasons already mentioned: what I find is extremely pretentious, but on examination, a lot of it is simply illiterate, based on extraordinary misreading of texts that I know well (sometimes, that I have written), argument that is appalling in its casual lack of elementary self-criticism, lots of statements that are trivial (though dressed up in complicated verbiage) or false; and a good deal of plain gibberish".
Chomsky's entire comment.

The author also links to Richard Dawkins' "Postmodernism Disrobed", reviewing "Intellectual Impostures", by Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont,  published in Nature, 9 July 1998, vol. 394. The link given is broken, but the file is available from New York University: link.

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