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Class 1 - ASCI 2000

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University of Guelph
Arts and Sciences
ASCI 2000
Pat Barclay

ASCI2; Class 1 Conflict Between the Arts & Sciences - Paper was written to be complete B.S., but to sound scholarly.  Was accepted & published Social Constructionism Presents: - The way we define things affects how we observe things - We construct our own meaning of observations  We assign value & interpret the things we see - What we come to believe as “reality” is more afftected by social forces than by actual reality - There is no “truth”, just what we perceive as truth (no external truth)  Therefore, science is no more valid than any other approach - Sokal created a parody article: modern physics says that physical reality is just a social construct - Submitted to Social Text, a leading journal in Science Studies - They published it with no modification (issue on Science Wars) - He revealed the hoax on same day in Lingua Franca The Ensuing Reaction… - Front page New York Times & multiple responses - Praise: “Go get ‘em”  Clarifying, defending science - Criticism: “Bad joke” that erodes trust, fame-seeking, striving for/promoting superiority of sciences - Several books written about this from both sides Why Did He Do It? Frustration over: - Sloppy thinking (article treated as true because of reference to authority) - Intentionally opaque writing (written to be difficult to follow to hide sloppy thinking) - Disbelief in reality hurts the pursuit of knowledge (no point in studying sciences) - Disbelief in reality hurts the call for social action  If injustice is ‘just a construct’, nobody will take action to change it “There are hundreds of important political & economic issues sur
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