Books  General Natural History  History of Science 

A House Built on Sand: Exposing Postmodernist Myths About Science

Edited By: Noretta Koertge

322 pages, no illustrations

Oxford University Press

Hardback | Sep 1998 | #104057 | ISBN: 0195117255
Availability: Usually dispatched within 2-3 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £42.99 $55/€47 approx

About this book

Cultural critics say that 'science is politics by other means,' arguing that the results of scientific inquiry are profoundly shaped by the ideological agendas of powerful elites. Physicist Alan Sokal recently poked fun at these claims by foisting a sly parody of the genre on the unwitting editors of the cultural studies journal "Social Text", touching off a still-unabated torrent of heated discussion. This hard-hitting collection picks up where Sokal left off. The essayists offer crisp and detailed critiques of case studies offered by the cultural critics as evidence that scientific results tell as more about social context than they do about the natural world. Pulling no punches, they identify numerous crude factual blunders (e.g. that Newton never performed any experiments) and egregious errors of omission, such as the attempt to explain the slow development of fluid dynamics solely on the terms of gender bias. Where there are positive aspects of a flawed account,or something to be learned from it, they do not hesitate to say so. Their target is shoddy scholarship. Comprising new essays by distinguished scholars of history, philosophy and science (including Sokal himself), this book raises lively debate to a new level of seriousness.

"Editor Koertge offers an excellent array of writings dealing with controversies that have arisen in connection with science studies and the so-called 'Science Wars.'"--Choice

"This book is the latest and most explosive bomb to be launched in the 'science' wars.'...Academics on both sides of the debate will need this book. Expect a counterattack."--Library Journal

"A thoughtful, wide-ranging, spirited, and highly informative collection. The sophisticated case for objectivity is fully developed in these expert pages."--Frederick Crews, author of The Memory Wars (1995) and editor of Unauthorized Freud: Doubters Confront a Legend (1998)

"Critics as well as admirers of science will find in these essays much that deserves to be taken to heart, head, and hearth. Large wings of the rambling postmodern house suffer from shoddy work or sandy footing. This should help both cultural scholars and scientists to find bedrock for sturdy construction rather than cynical deconstru

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