10 Facts About Alan Sokal


Alan David Sokal is an American professor of mathematics at University College London and professor emeritus of physics at New York University.


Alan Sokal is a critic of postmodernism, and caused the Sokal affair in 1996 when his deliberately nonsensical paper was published by Duke University Press's Social Text.


Alan Sokal co-authored a paper criticizing the critical positivity ratio concept in positive psychology.


Alan Sokal's interests include computational physics and algorithms, such as Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithms for problems in statistical physics.


In 2013, Alan Sokal co-authored a paper with Nicholas Brown and Harris Friedman, rejecting the Losada Line, a concept popular in positive psychology.


In 1996, Alan Sokal was curious to see whether the then-non-peer-reviewed postmodern cultural studies journal Social Text would publish a submission which "flattered the editors' ideological preconceptions".


Soon thereafter, Alan Sokal then revealed that the article was a hoax in the journal Lingua Franca, arguing that the left and social science would be better served by intellectual underpinnings based on reason.


Alan Sokal responded to leftist and postmodernist criticism of the deception by asserting that he was himself a leftist, and that his motivation was to "defend the Left from a trendy segment of itself".


Alan Sokal followed up in 1997 by co-authoring the book Impostures Intellectuelles with physicist and philosopher of science Jean Bricmont.


In 2008, Alan Sokal revisited the Alan Sokal affair and its implications in Beyond the Hoax.