ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Alan SokalSubscribe to Alan Sokal

Setting the Record Straight

The debate sparked by the publication of my parody article in Social Text [Sokal 1996a] and my book Intellectual Impostures, co-authored with Jean Bricmont [Sokal and Bricmont 1998], continues to be plagued by numerous misunderstandings, as exemplified by Gita Chadha

Truth, Reason, Objectivity and the Left

FIRST of all, I don't want to belabour 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, Secondly,I will not go into the ethical issues related to the propriety of hoaxing. I won't address the obscurantist prose and the uncritical celebrity-worship that have infected certain trendy sectors of the American academic humanities; nor will I try to analyse the media fallout from this affair and what it may indicate both about academia and about the larger society. 1 will not enter into technical issues of the philosophy of science. I will not discuss the social role of science and technology, nor the problem of reconciling technical expertise with democratic control Indeed, I want to emphasise that this affair is in my view not primarily about science though that was the excuse that I used in constructing my parody nor is it a disciplinary conflict between scientists and humanists, who are in fact represented on all sides of the debate. What I believe this debate is principally about - and what I want to focus on is the nature of truth, reason and objectivity, and its implications for progressive political action.
Back to Top