You must remember this: in the journal Social Text published an essay by Alan Sokal called “Transgressing the boundaries: towards a. It’s time I introduced you to my hero: Alan Sokal. He wrote and submitted a spoof article, Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a. Biographical Information: The author is a Professor of Physics at New York University. He has lectured widely in Europe and Latin America, including at the.

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In it, Sokal claimed Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalytic speculations had been confirmed by recent work in quantum field theory.

Beyond the Hoax by Alan Sokal

He employed scientific and mathematical concepts in ways boundariees even an A-level student should have spotted as rubbish, but crammed the article with nonsensical – but authentic – quotes about physics and tansgressing, by prominent French and American postmodern intellectuals.

Gross and Norman Levitt’s Higher Superstition: Archived from the original on May 12, Social Text’ s response revealed that none of the editors had suspected Sokal’s piece was a parody. He found that students who believed the paper’s author was a high-status intellectual rated it higher in quality and intelligibility.

The Sham That Shook the Academy. The Ivory Tower of Babel: Suspecting they didn’t know their scientific arse from their elbow, he decided to attack. The article is a masterpiece of foggy prose. Therapeutic Touch and Postmodernism in Transgrwssing.

University of Nebraska Press, He characterises himself as boundariee member of the old left, and believes that such professional obfuscation as he has exposed can only work, insofar as it works at all, in the interests of the powerful.

Retrieved April 3, He wrote and submitted a spoof article, Transgressing the Boundaries: The author certainly didn’t think so.

Fourteen years on, and the hoax and its implications have not gone away. Science Education Higher education. In the May issue of Lingua Francain the article “A Physicist Experiments With Cultural Studies”, Sokal revealed that “Transgressing the Boundaries” was a hoax and concluded that Social Text “felt comfortable publishing an article on quantum physics without bothering to consult anyone knowledgeable in the subject” because of its ideological proclivities and editorial bias.


InCornell sociologist Robb Willer performed an experiment in which undergraduate students read Sokal’s paper and were told either that it was written by another student or that it was by a famous academic. Retrieved 1 March Alan Sokal American University in Cairo.

He wrote a book, attacking them, in French. Talk about bad science We’ve been focusing on the negative for too long: Topics Research Bad science. There is one sentence in his original parody reprinted here, and with extra illuminating explanatory notes which, he takes pains to inform us, he does stand by: Talk about bad science.

After referring skeptically to the “so-called scientific method”, the article declared that “it is becoming increasingly apparent that physical ‘reality ‘ ” is fundamentally “a social and linguistic construct”. Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity” proposed that quantum gravity has progressive political implications, and that the ” morphogenetic field ” could be a cutting-edge theory of quantum transgrssing a morphogenetic field is a concept adapted by Rupert Sheldrake in a way that Sokal characterized in the affair’s aftermath as “a bizarre New Age idea”.

It went on to state that because scientific research is “inherently theory-laden and self-referential”, it “cannot assert boundaires privileged epistemological status with respect to counterhegemonic narratives emanating from dissident or marginalized communities” and that therefore a “liberatory science” and an “emancipatory mathematics”, spurning “the elite caste canon of ‘high science ‘ “, needed to be established for a “postmodern science [that] provide[s] powerful intellectual support for the progressive political project”.

They attacked him for dishonesty and some post-modernist commentators suggested he needed psychiatric treatment.

Quantum Gravity in Philosophy of Physical Science. Reply by Alan Sokal. Sociology of science, at its best, has done much to clarify these issues.

Beyond the Hoax by Alan Sokal | Book review | Books | The Guardian

Sokal reasoned that, if the presumption of editorial laziness was correct, the nonsensical content of his article would be irrelevant to whether the editors would publish it. So visit the website www. Jean Bricmont – unknown. Instead, they speculated Sokal’s admission “represented a change of heart, or a folding of his intellectual resolve”.


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Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity

Alan Sokal is an icon for bad science hunters the world over, the man who pulled off the greatest academic scam of our times, and gave post-modernist commentators on science the public slapping they’ve always deserved.

In an interview on the U. As Sokal revealed the hoax, the French philosopher Jacques Derrida was initially one of the targets of discredit in the United States, particularly in newspaper coverage. I propose, though, that this is as important a xlan as anything by Dawkins, Hitchens, Wheen, or any transsgressing the other tough-minded empiricists who provide popular antidotes to the vogue for mystic bollocks wherever it turns up.

A physics professor in New York, in the s Sokal went to teach in Nicaragua because he approved of ttransgressing Sandinista government. Duke University Press, Schulz – – Educational Philosophy and Theory 39 6: Sign in to use this feature. Nick Jardine – unknown. Sign in Create an account.

The Sokal affair | Education | The Guardian

The article, “Transgressing the Boundaries: The day that Social Text came out, Sokal began deriding the editors in the media. Alan Sokal – manuscript. The editors of Social Text liked my article because they liked its conclusion: Gross and Sokla 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.

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