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Norman Levitt

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Norman Jay Levitt (August 27, 1943[1] – October 24, 2009)[2] was an American mathematician at Rutgers University.


Levitt was born in The Bronx and received a bachelor's degree from Harvard College in 1963.[3] He received a PhD from Princeton University in 1967.[2]


Levitt was best known for his criticism of "the academic Left"—the social constructivists, deconstructionists, and postmodernists—for their anti-science stance which "lump[s] science in with other cultural traditions as 'just another way of knowing' that is no better than any other tradition, and thereby reduce the scientific enterprise to little more than culturally-determined guess work at best and hegemonic power mongering at worst".[2] His books (see Bibliography below) and review articles, such as "Why Professors Believe Weird Things: Sex, Race, and the Trials of the New Left" (Levitt emphasized that his own view was left-wing, but such ideas dismayed him),[4] expose the "academic silliness" and analyze the symptoms and roots of the academic Left's belief that "solemn incantation can overturn the order of the social universe, if only the jargon be appropriately obscure and exotic, and intoned with sufficient fervor". His book Higher Superstition is cited as having inspired the Sokal affair.[5]



  1. ^ Norman Levitt dies, National Center for Science Education, October 29, 2009, retrieved October 31, 2009
  2. ^ a b c d Shermer, Michael (2009-10-26). "Farewell to Norman Jay Levitt (1943–2009)". eSkeptic. The Skeptics Society. Retrieved 2009-10-27.
  3. ^ Pasachoff, Jay M. (January–February 2010), "Norm Levitt: An Obituary", Skeptical Inquirer, vol. 34, no. 1, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, retrieved November 23, 2009
  4. ^ Levitt, Norman (1998). "Why Professors Believe Weird Things: Sex, Race, and the Trials of the New Left". Skeptic. 6 (3). The Skeptics Society.
  5. ^ Derbyshire, Stuart (October 2009), Farewell, Norman Levitt, The Spiked Review of Books, archived from the original on November 6, 2009, retrieved October 31, 2009

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