Higher Superstition  

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"We are bound to Enlightenment values — the universality of moral principles, the sanctity of individual volition, a detestation of wanton cruelty — and yet we have no choice but to indict the very civilization that begat those values as it goes careening through time leaving pain, death, bewilderment, the wreckage of aboriginal tribes and of rain forests in its wake. But again, the terms of that indictment can be spelled out only in the language of those values. This, and not the mincing word games of the deconstructionists, is the true aporia. The criminal is also accuser and judge."--Higher Superstition (1994) by Gross and Levitt


"And it is true also that the very posture of self-indictment, of remorse in which much of educated Western sensibility now finds itself is again a culturally specific phenomenon. What other races have turned in penitence to those whom they once enslaved, what other civilizations have morally indicted the brilliance of their own past? The reflex of self-scrutiny in the name of ethical absolutes is, once more, a characteristically Western, post-Voltairian act." --In Bluebeard's Castle (1971) by George Steiner

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science is a 1994 book by biologist Paul R. Gross and mathematician Norman Levitt.

Summary

Levitt states he is a leftist trying to save the "academic left" from itself by exposing misuses and abuses of science to advance political goals.

Reception and influence

The book inspired the 1996 Sokal hoax, in which Alan Sokal published a bogus paper in a postmodernist journal that did not peer-review submissions. Sokal stated in an interview that while he was initially skeptical about Higher Superstition, he concluded after reading the works Gross and Levitt criticized that they were describing them fairly in "about 80 percent of the cases".

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Higher Superstition" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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