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Knowledge in a Social World

It was twenty years ago today . . . since the publication of Alvin Goldman’s classic of sorts, a work that inspired myself and my chum, Chris Onof — and later with Alvin’s help — to set up EPISTEME. The Sokal hoax was another motivating factor. Alan SokalAlvin Goldmanchris onofEPISTEMEEpistemologysocial epistemologySokal Hoax

Debunking “The mathematics of happiness”

Alan Sokal weighs in again thanks to Nick Brown who was troubled by the conclusion that  The mysteries of love, happiness, fulfilment, success, disappointment, heartache, failure, experience, random luck, environment, culture, gender, genes, and all the other myriad ingredients that make up a human life could be reduced to the figure of 2.9013. It’s quite astonishing…

Culture wars revisited

Michael Lynch and Alan Sokal enagage in a most civil dialogue: Defending Science: An Exchange. Readers might also be interested in Susan Haack’s Defending Science-Within Reason: Between Scientism and Cynicism and James Robert Brown’s Who Rules in Science?: An Opinionated Guide to the Wars – two cracking reads – and both past contributors to EPISTEME. Alan SokalChristian fundamentalismChristianityDavid HumeEpistemologyGodMICHAEL LYNCHReason

Paradoxical Roots of “Social Construction”

David Kaiser reviews Michael Polanyi and His Generation: Origins of the Social Construction of Science by Mary Jo Nye. Fifteen years ago, scientists, historians, and sociologists traded salvos in what was termed the “science wars.” Passions ran high; “social construction of science” became a battle cry. Critics like physicist Alan Sokal pointed an accusing finger at…