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I havent developed any original thoughts on this topic, but the 1996
hoax article by Alan Sokal (Professor of Physics, NYU) in Social Text
(Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of
Quantum Gravity) and the follow-ups are particularly interesting.
On Thu, 10 Feb 2005 19:01:10 -0500, Ryan Lanham <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
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> Nisbit (1980) argued that a key characteristic of modernism was an idea of a
> progressive science. Progressive is a normative word. It implies either
> (1) a positive expansion of scope or (2) a scope that is increasingly
> correct or "true".
> Does any social scientist with broad-based training really fear physicist's
> contribution on (2)? I can't imagine.
> A contribution on (1) seems like a pure good for everyone. A contribution
> on (2) is only a threat if you believe there is a limited set of possible
> contributions toward getting closer to "true" and that physicists or
> mathematicians (or post-modern literary critics, etc.) are somehow better
> positioned than anyone else to get the limited few possible answers first.
> Or, that some answers are more important than others--namely those that are
> purer math models.
> A great deal of current thinking in economics seems to be moving sharply
> away from purer model-based approaches to behavioral approaches (Thaler,
> Kahneman, etc.) If that trend held in social networks, sociologists,
> psychologists, etc. would seem to be in a better position for glory.
> Ryan L. Lanham
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Department of Management and Organization
The Pennsylvania State University
Phone: 814.865.1263 | Fax: 814.863.7261
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