Post-Sokal

Doing theory and cultural studies post-Sokal… The work of cultural studies, critical theory et. al. isn’t science. It’s not subject to the same success-criteria that scientific work is concerned. But Sokal happened, and anyone attempting to do work that shares epistemic terrain with scientific domains must either realize that or risk irrelevance or worse. So, I give myself a few ground rules. Any claim I make must make sense – and contradict – it’s opposite. One needs to be able to prepend an “It is not the case that…” to any declarative statement, to generate a statement that on some level they would be arguing against. It is worrisome how many pre-Sokalian texts – often cited, often respected – failed of this basic falsifiability. Given such a constraint, one can still do this sort of work and avail oneself of introspection and intuition, of allegory and pure speculation, as part of one’s method. This doesn’t absolve anyone from the need to justify or support a stance, nor does it excuse anti-empiricism, but it indicate a freedom from some evidentiary constraints of the traditional sciences.

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