Goodreads helps you follow your favorite authors. Be the first to learn about new releases! Start by following Alan Sokal. But on what grounds can believers presume to know that these assertions are true? But how, then, do we know that our holy scriptures are factually accurate? Because the scriptures themselves say so.

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Background[ edit ] In an interview on the U. Gross and Norman Levitt claim that some humanities journals would publish anything as long as it had "the proper leftist thought" and quoted or was written by well-known leftist thinkers.

They asserted that anti-intellectual sentiment in liberal arts departments and especially in English departments caused the increase of deconstructionist thought, which eventually resulted in a deconstructionist critique of science. What would matter would be ideologic obsequiousness, fawning references to deconstructionist writers, and sufficient quantities of the appropriate jargon.

Writing after the article was published and the hoax revealed, he stated: The results of my little experiment demonstrate, at the very least, that some fashionable sectors of the American academic Left have been getting intellectually lazy. The editors of Social Text liked my article because they liked its conclusion: that "the content and methodology of postmodern science provide powerful intellectual support for the progressive political project" [sec.

They apparently felt no need to analyze the quality of the evidence, the cogency of the arguments, or even the relevance of the arguments to the purported conclusion. Publication[ edit ] Sokal submitted the article to Social Text, whose editors were collecting articles for the " Science Wars " issue.

Social Text, as an academic journal, published the article not because it was faithful, true and accurate to its subject but because an " academic authority " had written it and because of the appearance of the obscure writing. The editors said they considered it poorly written but published it because they felt Sokal was an academic seeking their intellectual affirmation.

There are hundreds of important political and economic issues surrounding science and technology. Sociology of science, at its best, has done much to clarify these issues. But sloppy sociology, like sloppy science, is useless, or even counterproductive. Fair enough. Anyone who believes that the laws of physics are mere social conventions is invited to try transgressing those conventions from the windows of my apartment. I live on the twenty-first floor. The anthropologist Bruno Latour , criticized in Fashionable Nonsense, described the scandal as a " tempest in a tea cup ".

Retired Northeastern University mathematician turned social scientist Gabriel Stolzenberg wrote essays meant to discredit the statements of Sokal and his allies, [27] arguing that they insufficiently grasped the philosophy they criticized, rendering their criticism meaningless.

In the same issue, Stolzenberg replied, arguing that their critique and allegations of misrepresentation were based on misreadings. He advised readers to slowly and skeptically examine the arguments proposed by each party, bearing in mind that "the obvious is sometimes the enemy of the true".

Lindsay, Peter Boghossian, and Helen Pluckrose initiated "The Grievance Studies affair" , a project to create bogus academic papers on cultural, queer, race, gender, fat, and sexuality studies and submit them to academic journals.

The hoax began in and continued into , when it was halted after one of the papers caught the attention of journalists, who quickly found its purported author, Helen Wilson, to be nonexistent. By that time, four of the 20 papers had been published, three had been accepted but not yet published, six had been rejected, and seven were still under review.

One of the published papers had won special recognition. Myron L.


Sokal affair

Shelves: general-science , philosophy-of-science Assessing the usefulness or relevance of philosophy is a seemingly confounding endeavor. It becomes even trickier when approaching a specifically nuanced trend or style of philosophy. To add to that, there is the incessant theoretical backpedaling and earnest apologetics Assessing the usefulness or relevance of philosophy is a seemingly confounding endeavor. The reason this is complicated is because said apologetics typically entail claims that the philosopher in question was being misread, misunderstood, or read or understood in the incorrect context. They might also claim that the translation of the work in question was a poor one, or that their critics have a very particular axe to grind against them, whether it be political, racial, or class-based. Of course, people usually question philosophers with good reason.


Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science

Firstly, because clear and logical thinking leads to a cumulation of knowledge of which the progress of the natural sciences provides the best example and the advance of knowledge sooner or later undermines the traditional order. Confused thinking, on the other hand, leads nowhere in particular and can be indulged indefinitely without producing any impact upon the world. For some years, we have been surprised and distressed by the intellectual trends in certain precincts of American academia. Vast sectors of the humanities and the social sciences seem to have adopted a philosophy that we shall call, for want of a better term, "postmodernism": an intellectual current characterized by the more-or-less explicit rejection of the rationalist tradition of the Enlightenment, by theoretical discourses disconnected from any empirical test, and by a cognitive and cultural relativism that regards science as nothing more than a "narration", a "myth" or a social construction among many others. To respond to this phenomenon, one of us Sokal decided to try an unorthodox and admittedly uncontrolled , experiment: submit to a fashionable American cultural-studies journal, Social Text, a parody of the type of work that has proliferated in recent years, to see whether they would publish it. The article, entitled "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity", is chock-full of absurdities and blatant non-sequiturs.

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