Re: the arrogance of postmodern mumbo jumbo

Len Piotrowski (
Thu, 19 Sep 1996 18:10:11 GMT

In article <> Stephen Barnard <> writes:


>Jargon is only a small part of it. The really embarassing aspect of
>Sokal's article, for the editors of Social Text, is that they swallowed
>his technical references hook, line, and sinker. Why wouldn't they at
>least have run this by someone who was qualified to make a judgement?
>Sokal says that he encouraged editorial criticism in the review process.

>The only conclusion I can draw is that they were so delighted to have a
>physicist with excellent physics credentials apparently endorsing their
>political agenda that they didn't really care. They were, in the end,
>so awed by Sokal's white-coat physics reputation that they took him as
>*the* authority, which makes their compemptuous PM stance toward the
>physical sciences ridiculous.

On the contrary, the ethics behind scientific "authority" are what has
suffered the most from this hoax. If science can fake "technical reference"
in support of a false agenda, how does this example differentiate science from
any other socially-constructed, narrowly contingent, and politically arbitrary
view of the world?

What's blatantly two-faced about the attempt to start a pissing match with
this thread is that falsifiability and verifiability have been appropriated as
the sole propriety of "science." When applied to PM or the other social
sciences, they are not seen as processes in the growth of knowledge, but the
death knell of "compemptuous" thinking. Such duplicity in any other
circumstance would stink of arrogance.



"If you can't remember what mnemonic means, you've got a problem."
- perlstyle