reflection on sociology and the sokal 2.0 hoax

Last week, a trio of scholars perpetrated what people are now calling the “Sokal 2.0” hoax. They wrote 20 (!) papers on obviously bizarre and bogus topics and tried to get them published in various journals in the humanities and the “softer” social sciences. There are many commentaries you can read but I want to focus on two points:

First, if a scholarly community wants respect and financial support, they need to show that they can weed out garbage in their journals. That includes kooks, cranks, impostors, incompetents, and provocateurs. If editors can’t spot obvious trash, then they get what they deserve. The only people who deserve our sympathy are the peer reviewers, whose time was wasted.

Second, sociological journals rejected all the bogus manuscripts sent to them. On Twitter, Will Wilkinson had a good summary. The issue is that sociology is at its core a positivist discipline. That’s just…

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About Jim Rose

Utopia - you are standing in it promotes a classical liberal view of the world and champion the mass flourishing of humanity through capitalism and the rule of law. The origin of the blog is explained in the first blog post at

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