Chapter

What the <i>Social Text</i> Affair Does and Does Not Prove What the <i>Social Text</i> Affair Does and Does Not Prove <i>Alan D. Sokal</i>

Alan D. Sokal

in A House Built on Sand

Published in print September 1998 | ISBN: 9780195117257
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199785995 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195117255.003.0002
What the Social Text Affair Does and Does Not Prove What the Social Text Affair Does and Does Not Prove  Alan D. Sokal

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This essay analyzes what Social Text’s publication of a parody of the author’s article does and does not prove about the prevailing intellectual standards in the cultural studies of science. It discusses and criticizes two types of writing: one characterized by meaningless or absurd statements, name-dropping, and the display of false erudition; the other by sloppy thinking and poor philosophy, which come together notably in the form of glib relativism. It concludes with some critical comments on the misnamed “Science Wars”.

Keywords: Social Text; parody; hoax; cultural studies; sociology of science; science studies; strong program; relativism

Chapter.  7971 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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