A House Built on Sand: Exposing Postmodernist Myths About Science

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Noretta Koertge
Oxford University Press, Aug 27, 1998 - Science - 336 pages
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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. They base their claims on historical case studies purporting to show the systematic intrusion of sexist, racist, capitalist, colonialist and/or professional interests into the very content of science. 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 editorials, articles, and heated classroom and Internet 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 us 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 emission, such as the attempt to explain the slow development of fluid dynamics solely in 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 a lively debate to a new level of seriousness.
 

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A house built on sand: exposing postmodernist myths about science

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This book is the latest and most explosive bomb to be launched in the "science wars." Recently, a cadre of historians and philosophers of science have attempted to deconstruct the scientific process ... Read full review

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Contents

Myths Metaphors and Misreadings
57
Interests Ideology and the Construction of Experiments
131
Art Nature and the Rise of Experimental Method
193
Civilian Casualties of Postmodern Perspectives on Science
255
Index
313
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Page 12 - To slow down is to set a limit in chaos to which all speeds are subject, so that they form a variable determined as abscissa, at the same time as the limit forms a universal constant that cannot be gone beyond (for example, a maximum degree of contraction). The first functives are therefore the limit and the variable, and reference is a relationship between values of the variable or, more profoundly, the relationship of the variable, as abscissa of speeds, with the limit.

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About the author (1998)

Noretta Koertge is Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at Indiana University. A former chemist, she studied philosophy of science at the University of London and is the author of numerous articles on the methodology of both the natural and social sciences. She co-wrote (with Daphne Patai) Professing Feminism: Cautionary Tales from the Strange World of Women's Studies.

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