The Sleep of Reason


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Abstract
You will remember that in 1996 a physicist at New York University named Alan Sokal brought off a delicious hoax that displayed the fraudulence of certain leading figures in cultural studies. He submitted to the journal Social Text an article entitled "Transgressing the boundaries: Toward a transformative hermeneutics of quantum gravity", espousing the fashionable doctrine that scientific objectivity is a myth, and combining heavy technical references to contemporary physics and mathematics with patently ridiculous claims about their broader philosophical, cultural and political significance, supported by quotations in similar vein from prominent figures like Lacan and Lyotard, and references to many more. The nonsense made of the science was so extreme that only a scientific ignoramus could have missed the joke
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