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Monday, January 01, 2018

Sokal Hoax at 20

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an oral history of the Sokal Hoax, which is now twenty years old. Some of those interviewed discuss this incident in light of recent attacks on the academy, science, and the idea of "truth." An interesting read.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 1, 2018 at 04:12 PM in Howard Wasserman, Teaching Law | Permalink


The Sokal hoax was caused by cognitive biases--errors in the human thinking process. The main bias involved was the confirmation bias--"The tendency to search for, interpret, focus on and remember information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions." In this case, postmodernists saw the Sokal article as more support for their worldview, and, consequently, they were uncritical of its content. Also involved was the bandwagon effect-- "The tendency to do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same."

Posted by: Scott Fruehwald | Jan 2, 2018 12:53:04 PM

The Sokal Hoax largely invalidated an entire swath of the academy. The responses in this article did not redeem it.

Posted by: YesterdayIKilledAMammoth | Jan 2, 2018 2:41:40 AM

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