Alan Sokal's Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy and Culture PDF

By Alan Sokal

ISBN-10: 0199561834

ISBN-13: 9780199561834

Famed for his 1996 hoax that parodied the extraordinary postmodernist feedback of technological know-how, Alan Sokal right here exposes many different examples of charlatanism, deflating the postmodernists of the left, the fundamentalists of the ideal, and the muddle-headed of all political and apolitical stripes. Sokal does revisit his notorious hoax--the unique article is incorporated within the ebook, with new explanatory footnotes--to light up matters which are with us much more pressingly this day. however the ebook 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 vague the clinical consensus on international warming, organic evolution, second-hand smoke, and a bunch of alternative matters. Written with infrequent lucidity, a full of life wit, and a willing appreciation of the real-world results of sloppy pondering, Beyond the Hoax bargains an interesting argument for the very important significance of evidence-based technological know-how, exhibiting that transparent pondering, mixed with a admire for facts, are of the maximum value to the survival of the human race.

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In this work, Bohm rejects the Bohr-Heisenberg ideology so beloved of postmodernists, and adopts instead the old-fashioned philosophy of scientific realism: the goal of physics is to describe the world as it actually is. Bohmian mechanics is based on an unambiguous ontology (the wave function and particle positions) and is governed by a deterministic differential equation (just as in Newtonian mechanics, though the equation is first-order rather than second-order). It is at present unclear whether the Bohmian approach can be usefully wedded to special and general relativity.

Indeed, strictly speaking, the conscious analysis of any concept stands in a relation of exclusion to its immediate application. 16,#32 14 Pais (1991, p. 23). A r o n o w i t z (1981, p. 28) has noted that wave-particle duality renders the "will to totality in modern s c i e n c e " severely problematic: The differences within physics b e t w e e n w a v e and particle theories of matter, the indeterminacy principle discovered by Heisenberg, Einstein's relativity theory, all are accommodations to the impossibility of arriving at a unified field theory, one in w h i c h the "anomaly" of difference for a theory w h i c h posits identity may be resolved without challenging the presuppositions of science itself.

A single theory or "meaning" disseminates into infinite possibilities . . What we once considered to be enclosed by linear logic begins to open up to a surprising series of new forms and possibilities. (Rosenberg 1992, p. 210) Let me stress that I am not criticizing these authors for employing the word "linear" in their own sense: mathematics has no monopoly on the word. What I am criticizing is some postmodernists' tendency to confuse their sense of the word with the mathematical one, and to draw connections with chaos theory that are not supported by any valid argument.

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Beyond the Hoax: Science, Philosophy and Culture by Alan Sokal


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