Alan Sokal Search: Annotated List of Links
-- Google hit #1 and full of sublinks that I found very interesting.
This is basically a laundry list of links (with a smattering of
explanation here and there) to everything that Alan Sokal has ever done that
he deems relavent to his work as well as links to sites that he believes are
related to or support his views.
Some important links found on this page:
This article, again relating to the first article, explains the reasons
why he wrote the parody and the social implications he found in it's
acceptance to a respected humanities academic journal. He laments
the changes he has observed in the position of self-proclaimed Left
wing thinkers and warns against the political implications in the
postmodernist trend he sees in the humanities. He also argues for
the importance of objective fact and truth for the functioning of larger
This a summary of an interview of Alan Sokal by Julian Baggini.
It explores Sokals perceptions on the need for more rigor in the intellectual
process, his experience in writing outside of his official field, and
discussions of a few of the reactions he received from readers after
publishing his pieces regarding the issues of science and subjectivity vs.
objectivity. The interview also touches on his book that addresses these
issues as well as the misuse of science-related terms, primarily by French
This link provides an interesting analysis of Sokal's arguments by Stanley
Aronowitz followed by Sokal's rebuttal to his analysis. Aronowitz claims
that Sokal focused on the wrong issues, used poor representation of
deconstructionist theory, and is operating on blind faith that the scientific
method will erase all social influences on scientific observations.
Sokal responds that he was not focusing on desconstructionism when referencing
Andrew Ross and Sandra Harding, that Aronowitz is twisting his points, that he
already addressed the cultrual influences in his Afterward, and that
Anronwitz's arguments are old, accepted, and irrelevant. It is an
interesting sparring session and I would be curious to see the two in a
This is a review of Sokal & Bricmont's book Intellectual Impostures
written from the perspective of a reader with a self-proclaimed extensive
math and science background. Danny Yee, the reviewer, presents
the book as largely entertaining to those with the background to appreciate
the difference in usage and contextual discrepencies since the explanations
given by Sokal and Bricmont do not teach the concepts to an audience that is
not already familiar with them. The reviewer claims that the
points are a "systematic demolition [that] is totally convincing,"
however the credentials of the reviewer are sketchy at best, being a part-time
department Computer Systems Manager at the University of Sydney in
Australia and freelance review writer who has a bachelors of science and
discontinued a started Ph.D program.
This is another laundry list of links site that provides a sort of bus
terminal to find more info on Alan Sokal and the phenomenon that he
appartently sparked in the sciences and humanities, more and more often being
referred to as the
"Science Wars" as I browse through sites.
Some interesting links found on this page:
This is a petition from David Edge at the University of Edinburgh asking
that the unprofessional harrassment and misrepresentation of noted
scholars' ideas and work. I'm not sure exactly what occured at the
conference he is referring to, but it sounds like this is getting ugly.
There were also several other commentaries from David Edge addressing the
libel issue in England and his negative view on this whole phenomenon.
-- This link is also referenced by other sites, but I first saw it through
this one. This is an essay published by Bruce Robbins, one of
the editors of Social Text
in another journal, Tikkun
His stand is that although Sokal intended his first article to be a
parody, this does not invalidate some of the points he raised.
Robbins also argues that there must be a balance between the ideas of
objective truths and social influences on science, using the need for
empirical evidence to prove exploitation as an example related
to the former and the outdated belief that blacks and women were
inherently (implying scientifically/biologically) inferior as an example
related to the latter. Another major issue that Robbins addresses is
the need for interdisciplinary criticism.
1. There were several links to pages in French and German. I
do not have the foreign language skills to even decode most of the
titles, much less the content of the pages.
2. The amount of available information is overwhelming and the quality
of the sources widely varies. I cannot possibly exhaustively examine the
issue at this point due to time constraints (although I would like the
luxury to do so) and I have been so fascinated that I have
already been sucked into a much more extensive reading and searching
session on Alan Sokal than I ever originally intended and eventually need to
accept the statements myself that I just made to you since I do need
to sleep at some point.