By Alan Sokal
Famed for his 1996 hoax that parodied the extraordinary postmodernist feedback of technology, Alan Sokal right here exposes many different examples of charlatanism, deflating the postmodernists of the left, the fundamentalists of the best, and the muddle-headed of all political and apolitical stripes. Sokal does revisit his notorious hoax--the unique article is integrated within the booklet, with new explanatory footnotes--to light up concerns which are with us much more pressingly at the present time. however the e-book levels a long way past this one recognized case, to bare for example how conservative politicians and executives are fortunately manipulating the vaporous tenets of postmodernism to imprecise the clinical consensus on international warming, organic evolution, second-hand smoke, and a number of different matters. Written with infrequent lucidity, a full of life wit, and a prepared appreciation of the real-world effects of sloppy considering, Beyond the Hoax deals an attractive argument for the very important value of evidence-based technological know-how, exhibiting that transparent considering, mixed with a admire for proof, are of the maximum value to the survival of the human race.
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Extra resources for Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy and Culture
90-91, translation mine; see also Serres and Latour 1995, pp. 58-59 for the official English translation) In reality, the theory of percolation deals with the flow of liquids in porous media. It says absolutely nothing about space and time. #62 This last sentence is an ironic joke, stretching the meaning of the vague term "complementarity" well past the breaking point. See also note #31 above. #63 In reality, general relativity has thus far had a surprisingly modest impact on physics and on the philosophy of science (though it may well have a stronger impact in the future).
See Sokal and Bricmont (1998, chapter 10) for many further examples of Virilio's impostures concerning physics. #51 The reference to "this radical alteration of the Newtonian formula" is an ironic joke: M x V is the formula for momentum in Newtonian mechanics, but not in special-relativistic mechanics. It goes without saying that nothing in the writings of Lorentz, Einstein, Minkowski, Weyl and Weinberg lends any support to Virilio's conceits. #52 The statements made in this paragraph (but not those in the associated footnotes) are basically correct.
28 14 T H E SOCIAL TEXT A F F A I R #31 The physicist John Bell (1928-1990), who was a major contributor to the study of the conceptual foundations of quantum mechanics, made an interesting observation concerning Bohr's notion of "complementarity" (Bell 1987, pp. 189-190): It seems to me that Bohr used this word ["complementary") with the reverse of its usual meaning. Consider for example the elephant. From the front she is head, trunk, and two legs. From the back she is bottom, tail, and two legs.
Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy and Culture by Alan Sokal