Friday, August 15, 2008
Blackburn, Simon. "Truth's Caper." THE NEW REPUBLIC August 14, 2008.
Sokal, Alan. Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy and Culture. Oxford: OUP, 2008. Every reader of this magazine is likely to have heard of the "Sokal hoax," the most celebrated academic escapade of our time. Everyone is also likely to know the story in outline: how in 1996 the radical "postmodernist" journal Social Text published an article submitted by Alan Sokal, a mathematical physicist at New York University, with the mouthwatering title "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity." Sokal then revealed the article to be a spoof, a tissue of nonsense that he had painstakingly assembled in order to parody the portentous rubbish that flew under the colors of postmodernism. By publishing Sokal's submission, the emperors of that tendency revealed themselves to be as naked as the rest of academia had always suspected, and with this one coup Sokal himself became the toast of the town, a celebrity, a hero of the resistance. . . . Read the rest here: http://www.powells.com/review/2008_08_14.html?utm_source=overview&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss_overview&utm_content=Beyond%20the%20Hoax:%20Science,%20Philosophy%20and%20Culture&PID=18. See also John Baez on the Bogdanov Affair here: http://philosophysother.blogspot.com/2008/07/baez-john-bogdanoff-affair.html.