SCIENCE Vs. MAGIC

What will come after postmodernism? Since the principal lesson to be learned from the past is that predicting the future is hazardous, we can only list our fears and our hopes. One possibility is a backlash leading to some form of dogmatism, mysticism (e.g. New Age), or religious fundamentalism. This may appear unlikely, at least in academic circles, but the demise of reason has been radical enough to pave the way for a more extreme irrationalism. In this case intellectual life would go from bad to worse. A second possibility is that intellectuals will become reluctant (at least for a decade or two) to attempt any thoroughgoing critique of the existing social order, and will either become its servile advocates—as some formerly leftist French intellectuals did after 1968— or retreat from political engagement entirely. Our hopes, however, go in a different direction: the emergence of an intellectual culture that would be rationalist but not dogmatic, scientifically minded but not scientistic, open-minded but not frivolous, and politically progressive but not sectarian. But this, of course, is only a hope, and perhaps only a dream.

Alan Sokal & Jean Bricmont, Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals’ Abuse of Science.

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  1. Pingback: TWENTY SIXTEEN: IN REVIEW | TEETH, FEET & FINGERS

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