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Alan Sokal [32]Alan D. Sokal [7]
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Profile: Alan Sokal (American University in Cairo)
  1. Jean Bricmont & Alan Sokal, The Furor Over Impostures Intellectuelles.
    The publication in France of our book Impostures Intellectuelles [1] appears to have created a small storm in certain intellectual circles. According to Jon Henley in The Guardian, we have shown that ``modern French philosophy is a load of old tosh.''[2] According to Robert Maggiori in Libération, we are humourless scientistic pedants who correct grammatical errors in love letters.[3] We shall try to explain here why neither is the case.
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  2. Alan Sokal, Beyond the Hoax : A Response to Emily A. Schultz.
    For the complex or boundary objects in which I am interested . . . dimensions implode . . . they collapse into each other . . . story telling . . . is a fraught practice . . . In no way is story telling opposed to materiality, [sic] But materiality itself is tropic; it makes us swerve, it trips us; it is a knot of the textual, technical, mythic/oneric [sic], organic, political and economic.
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  3. Alan Sokal, Replies [to Stanley Aronowitz].
    But let me not beat a dead horse: Social Text is not my enemy, nor is it my main intellectual target. More interesting are the substantive philosophical and political issues raised in Professor Aronowitz's critique of my Afterword. Unfortunately, Aronowitz seems to have had difficulty in reading my plain words.
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  4. Alan D. Sokal, Department of Physics.
    The author is a Professor of Physics at New York University. In the summers of 1986{88 he taught mathematics at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Nicaragua. He is co-author with Roberto Fernandez and Jurg Frohlich of Random Walks, Critical Phenomena, and Triviality in Quantum Field Theory (Springer, 1992), and co-author with Jean Bricmont of the forthcoming Les impostures scientiques des philosophes (post-)modernes.
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  5. Alan Sokal & Jean Bricmont, Postmodernism, Poststructuralism, Etc.
    My favorite poststructuralist is Gilles Deleuze (with or without Guattari). I like to think that he was really writing an elaborate series of works of science fiction, in a non-fictional format (much as Stanislaw Lem did in Imaginary Magnitude and A Perfect Vacuum ), only without letting anyone in on the joke. Partly this is because there are moments where what he says is almost right (such as the definition of "relation" he gives in his interview with Claire Parnet, where (...)
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  6. Alan Sokal & Jean Bricmont, Sokal and Bricmont: Is This the Beginning of the End of the Dark Ages in the Humanities?
    When I was a boy, I was friendly with a lad who lived a few doors away. We used to take bicycle rides together and have gunfights on the waste land and light fires and play scratch cricket. Our ways parted as our interests evolved in different directions. There were no hard feelings and, indeed, much residual good will. Roger (this is not his true name, which I shall withhold for the sake of his family) did not share any of (...)
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  7. Alan Sokal, A Physicist Experiments with Cultural Studies.
    The displacement of the idea that facts and evidence matter by the idea that everything boils down to subjective interests and perspectives is -- second only to American political campaigns -- the most prominent and pernicious manifestation of anti-intellectualism in our time.
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  8. Alan Sokal, A Plea for Reason, Evidence and Logic.
    This affair has brought up an incredible number of issues, and I can't dream of addressing them all in 10 minutes, so let me start by circumscribing my talk. I don't want to belabor Social Text 's failings either before or after the publication of my parody: Social Text is not my enemy, nor is it my main intellectual target. I won't go here into the ethical issues related to the propriety of hoaxing (although in the question period I'd be (...)
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  9. Alan Sokal, A Physics Prof Drops a Bomb on the Faux Left.
    When I was a child, my favorite story was "The Emperor's New Clothes." A chorus of adults praises the Emperor's new wardrobe, but a child blurts out the truth: The Emperor is in fact stark naked. From this tale, I learned that adults could be intimidated into endorsing all kinds of flummery. The longer I teach at the university, the more I return to this story for consolation.
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  10. Alan Sokal, By David Turnbull.
    Intellectual Impostures seemed at first to create something of dilemma for me. My position was obviously an example of the kind that Sokal and Bricmont's set out to critique, but I found myself entertaining a variety of responses, why be so nasty, so sneering, why overstate the case, why attribute failings of individual's arguments to all of some supposedly homogeneous group be they constructivists, sociologists of science postmodernists or whatever? Why be so earnestly tendentious? Yet, did I not agree with (...)
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  11. Alan Sokal, By Henry Krips.
    Intellectual Impostures , for example, written together with Jean Bricmont, the authors (hereafter S&B) criticise the way in which French poststructuralist critics, such as Julia Kristeva, Jacques Lacan and Gilles Deleuze, have abused the scientific terminology to which, Sokal claims, they exhibit slavish adherence. Many authors, such as Andrew Ross and Stanley Aronowitz, have taken up the cudgels against S&B. But their replies often miss the mark either by arguing at too abstract a level against S&B's project as a whole (...)
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  12. Alan Sokal, Book Review. [REVIEW]
    only the observer, ently theory-laden and self-referential; and conbut the very consequently, that the discourse of the scientific comcept of geometry, munity, for all its undeniable value, cannot assert becomes relational and contextual.” a privileged epistemological status with respect to The article might have passed unnoticed in the counter-hegemonic narratives emanating from dis-.
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  13. Alan Sokal, By Steve Fuller.
    Social Text , along with an explication of all the relatively minor errors and jokes planted in the article that would have been caught by the cognoscenti in physics. That alone has been sufficient to attract global media attention about the alleged lack of quality control in cultural studies scholarship. However, Sokal and Bricmont are out for bigger game. They want to trace these lapses from professionalism to a relativist philosophical sensibility, which in turn is held responsible for the dissipation (...)
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  14. Alan Sokal, By Val Dusek.
    Sokal and Bricmont in their exposé of allegedly meaningless statements about science by recent French philosophers take errors of particular applications of philosophical ideas to science as refutations of the whole general framework utilized. They also seem to think that taking snippets out of context is sufficient to expose the "fashionable nonsense." In the early twentieth century, British analytic philosophers such as Bertrand Russell and A. N. Whitehead did the same with Hegel on mathematics. After deciding not to bother to (...)
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  15. Alan Sokal, Farewell to a Fad.
    Credit for squelching this peculiar trend goes largely to one man, NYU physicist -- and it should be mentioned, leftist -- Alan Sokal. Three years ago, he submitted a parody of postmodernist thought to the postmodernist journal Social Text , which article purported to mock, in true postmodernist fashion, the silly old "dogma" that "there exists an external world," asserting instead that "physical `reality'" is just "a social and linguistic construct." The..
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  16. Alan Sokal, It's a Battlefield Out There, Culturally Speaking.
    oes anything exist outside culture? Is there anything that we do that is free of the distortions of our tastes and customs? That isn't irrevocably shaped by the languages we speak or our material interests? Is there anything out there that we can assume to be noncultural or transcultural or even universal?
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  17. Alan Sokal, La Modestie, la Rigueur Et L'Ironie.
    Lorsque nous avons écrit notre petit livre dénonçant l’usage grossièrement abusif des concepts scientifiques par bon nombre d’intellectuels philosophico-littéraires français de premier plan 1, nous nous sentions comme des étrangers – et cela, à plus d’un titre– pénétrant dans un territoire neuf et parfois étrange, dont les habitants ne se sont pas tous montrés amicaux (c’est le moins qu’on puisse dire). Voilà pourquoi c’est avec grand plaisir que nous lisons aujourd’hui la défense vigoureuse – et le développement – de nos (...)
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  18. Alan Sokal, Letter to Physics Today in Reply to Peter Saulson's Review of My Book Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy and Culture.
    Every author has to expect that some reviewers will dislike his book, perhaps intensely. That is par for the course. But one might hope that even a scathingly negative review would be accurate in its summary of the book’s contents and principal arguments. Alas, Peter Saulson’s review1 of my book Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy and Culture 2 fails to meet this minimum standard.
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  19. Alan Sokal, Mort Et Vie du Positivisme.
    Une des réactions qui m’a le plus surpris suite à la publication, avec Alan Sokal, d’ Impostures intellectuelles (1), c’est l’accusation qui nous a été faite d’être « positivistes ». En effet, nulle part nous ne défendons cette doctrine et, les rares fois où nous en parlons, c’est pour la critiquer. Néanmoins j’ai vite compris qu’il fallait distinguer entre positivisme et « positivisme », c’est-à-dire entre une doctrine philosophique complexe ayant prospéré à une certaine époque et à laquelle plus personne (...)
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  20. Alan Sokal, On Being Hoaxed.
    That afternoon in May I was sitting in front of the computer, half-working, half-listening to "All Things Considered." The kids were in the living room doing a similar combination of homework and TV. Then, all of a sudden, I heard the words "Social Text," followed by laughter. It was the name of the journal I've worked on for over ten years, the last five of them as coeditor. I was thunderstruck. We were on National Public Radio. "Kids! I yelled. "Social (...)
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  21. Alan Sokal, Postmodernism and the Left.
    ALAN SOKAL'S HOAX, "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity," which was published in the "Science Wars" issue of Social Text ,1 and the debate that has followed it, raise important issues for the left. Sokal's article is a parody of postmodernism, or, more precisely, the amalgam of postmodernism, poststructuralist theory, deconstruction, and political moralism which has come to hold sway in large areas of academia, especially those associated with Cultural Studies. These intellectual strands are not always (...)
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  22. Alan Sokal, Professor Latour's Philosophical Mystifications.
    The debate over objectivity and relativism, science and postmodernism, which for the past eight months has been rocking American academic circles -- particularly those of the political left -- has apparently now arrived in France. And with what a bang! Following Denis Duclos..
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  23. Alan Sokal, Review of “Who Rules in Science?”, By James Robert Brown. [REVIEW]
    Biographical Information The author is a Professor of Physics at New York University. His main research interests are in statistical mechanics and quantum field theory. He is co-author with Roberto Fern´andez and J¨.
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  24. Alan Sokal, Response to My Critics.
    “The day the Enlightenment went out”, is how Gary Wills described the re-election of President George W. Bush in an op-ed column in the New York Times (November 4, 2004). Reflecting upon the conservative religious vote that put Bush back in the White House, Wills wondered if there was any connection between the fact that many more Americans believe in the Virgin Birth than in Darwin’s theory of evolution and that 75 percent of Bush supporters actually believed—without an iota of (...)
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  25. Alan Sokal, Sokal's Hoax.
    Like many other scientists, I was amused by news of the prank played by the NYU mathematical physicist Alan Sokal. Late in 1994 he submitted a sham article to the cultural studies journal Social Text, in which he reviewed some current topics in physics and mathematics, and with tongue in cheek drew various cultural, philosophical and political morals that he felt would appeal to fashionable academic commentators on science who question the claims of science to objectivity.
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  26. Alan Sokal, Taking Evidence Seriously.
    The author is a 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. He is co-author with Roberto Fern´andez and J¨.
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  27. Alan Sokal, Truth or Consequences: A Brief Response to Robbins.
    On many issues Robbins and I are in agreement. Science and technology are legitimate, indeed crucial, subjects of public critique and democratic debate. The funding of scientific research by private corporations poses grave dangers to scientific objectivity. (But to make this argument, one must first believe in objectivity as a goal; postmodernists and relativists don't.) Finally, cultural questions are as important as economic ones -- sometimes more so.
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  28. Alan Sokal, Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity.
    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 Università di Roma ``La Sapienza'' and, during the Sandinista government, at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua. He is co-author with Roberto Fernández and Jürg Fröhlich of Random Walks, Critical Phenomena, and Triviality in Quantum Field Theory (Springer, 1992).
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  29. Alan Sokal, What is Science and Why Should We Care?
    The author is a 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. He is co-author with Roberto Fern´andez and J¨.
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  30. Alan Sokal, What the Social Text Affair Does and Does Not Prove.
    I did not write this work merely with the aim of setting the exegetical record straight. My larger target is those contemporaries who -- in repeated acts of wish-fulfillment -- have appropriated conclusions from the philosophy of science and put them to work in aid of a variety of social cum political causes for which those conclusions are ill adapted. Feminists, religious apologists (including ``creation scientists''), counterculturalists, neoconservatives, and a host of other curious fellow-travelers have claimed to find crucial grist (...)
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  31. Alan D. Sokal (2008). Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy and Culture. Oxford University Press.
    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 immediately confessed 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. -/- (...)
     
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  32. Alan Sokal & Jean Bricmont Jugent Sévèrement L'ouvrage (2007). Litteraires et scientifiques trivialiser n'est PAS sans danger'. In Sophie Roux (ed.), Retours Sur l'Affaire Sokal. Harmattan.
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  33. Alan D. Sokal (2003). Who Rules in Science?(Book). Science and Society 67 (1):111.
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  34. Ma Guerrieri & Alan Sokal (2001). Demolidor de Barracas... Inclusive a Própria. Episteme 12:113-138.
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  35. Jean Bricmont & Alan D. Sokal (2000). Authors' Response [to David Turnbull, Henry Krips, Val Dusek and Steve Fuller]. Metascience 9 (3):372-395.
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  36. David Turnbull, Henry Krips, Val Dusek, Steve Fuller, Alan Sokal, Jean Bricmont, Alan Frost, Alan Chalmers, Anna Salleh, Alfred I. Tauber, Yvonne Luxford, Nicolaas Rupke, Steven French, Peter G. Brown, Hugh LaFollette, Peter Machamer, Nicolas Rasmussen, Andy J. Miller, Marya Schechtman, Ross S. West, John Forge, David Oldroyd, Nancy Demand, Darrin W. Belousek, Warren Schmaus, Sungook Hong, Rachel A. Ankeny, Peter Anstey, Jeremy Butterfield & Harshi Gunawardena (2000). Clarity, Charity and Criticism, Wit, Wisdom and Worldliness: Avoiding Intellectual Impositions. [REVIEW] Metascience 9 (3):347-498.
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  37. Alan D. Sokal (1999/2003). Intellectual Impostures: Postmodern Philosophers' Abuse of Science. Profile Books.
     
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  38. Alan D. Sokal & J. Bricmont (1999). Book Review: Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Literature 23 (1).
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  39. Alan D. Sokal (1996). Transgressing the Boundaries: An Afterword. Philosophy and Literature 20 (2):338-346.
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