Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy and Culture

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Oxford University Press, 2010 - Philosophy - 465 pages
In 1996, Alan Sokal, a Professor of Physics at New York University, wrote a paper for the cultural-studies journal Social Text, entitled 'Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a transformative hermeneutics of quantum gravity'. It was reviewed, accepted and published. Sokal immediatelyconfessed that the whole article was a hoax - a cunningly worded paper designed to expose and parody the style of extreme postmodernist criticism of science. The story became front-page news around the world and triggered fierce and wide-ranging controversy. Sokal is one of the most powerful voices in the continuing debate about the status of evidence-based knowledge. In Beyond the Hoax he turns his attention to a new set of targets - pseudo-science, religion, and misinformation in public life. 'Whether my targets are the postmodernists of the left, thefundamentalists of the right, or the muddle-headed of all political and apolitical stripes, the bottom line is that clear thinking, combined with a respect for evidence, are of the utmost importance to the survival of the human race in the twenty-first century.' The book also includes a hugelyilluminating annotated text of the Hoax itself, and a reflection on the furore it provoked.

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User Review  - psiloiordinary - LibraryThing

Much more than I expected in more ways than one. I expected the text of the Sokal Hoax exposing anti-reality post modernism but the extensive footnotes where a bonus. Then there was plenty of food for ... Read full review

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User Review  - FPdC - LibraryThing

A compilation of papers by Sokal about Science, Philosophy of Science, Culture, and Politics, including an annotated reprint of his famous 1996 Social Text hoax. Discussing issues related to ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Alan Sokal is Professor of Physics at New York University and Professor of Mathematics at University College, London. His main research interests are in statistical mechanics and quantum field theory. Among non-physicists, Sokal is probably best known for his famous parody of postmodern science criticism, known as the 'Sokal Hoax', which aroused fierce debate in cultural circles, and received widespread coverage in the media, including front-page stories in theNew York Times, the International Herald and Tribune, the Observer, and Le Monde. Alongside many publications in physics, Sokal's previous books include Intellectual Impostures (with Jean Bricmont, Profile Books, 1998; published as Fashionable Nonsense by Picador in the US).

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