David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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The hoax perpetrated by New York University theoretical physicist Alan Sokal in 1996 on the editors of the journal Social Text quickly became widely known and hotly debated. (See Physics Today January 1997, page 61, and March 1997, page 73.) "Transgressing the Boundaries -- Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity," was the title of the parody he slipped past the unsuspecting editors.  Many readers of Sokal's article characterized it as an ingenious exposure of the decline of the intellectual standards in contemporary academia, and as a brilliant parody of the postmodern nonsense rampant among the cultural studies of science. Sokal's paper is variously, so we read, "a hilarious compilation of pomo gibberish", "an imitation of academic babble", and even "a transformative hermeneutics of total bullshit".  Many scientists reported having "great fun" and "a great laugh" reading Sokal's article. Yet whom, exactly, are we laughing at?
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