Raymond Boudon

Tocqueville Today Publication date : May 25, 2005

If there is no such thing as scientific truth as postmodern philosophers contend, then pseudosciences such as astrology and alternative forms of medicine should be regarded as perfectly sound. Such pseudosciences can be used to exploit the public’s gullibility and to divert it from real science. In this context, should religion be considered as a pseudoscience?
The author’s criticisms are illustrated with specific examples, such as: “therapeutic touching” in caregiving and nursing, which has become immensely popular in the United States and is beginning to make inroads in France; Vedic astrology, which is making a comeback in India, under the combined banners of anticolonialism and left-wing nationalism.
Following the huge success of Impostures Intellectuelles, Alan Sokal reopens the controversial debate with a violent attack on postmodernism, its excesses and its dangers.

Alan Sokal, a professor of physics at New York University, is the co-author with Jean Bricmont of the highly controversial Impostures Intellectuelles. Published in 1997 and translated into many languages, the book provoked heated discussions worldwide about the validity of the humanities. It was published in the U.K. as Intellectual Impostures and in the U.S. as Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science.