ICMP 2003

Science and its critics

A conversation on the philosophy and sociology of science

Aula Magna, Reitoria da Universidade de Lisboa
2003 July 31, 21:30

Moderator: J. Caraça (Gulbenkian, Lisbon)
Panelists: J. Bricmont (Louvain)
N. Crato (Lisbon)
D. Murcho (London)
B. de Sousa Santos (Coimbra)
A. Sokal (New York)

Seven years ago, Alan Sokal originated a rather acrimonious debate after the publication of his hoax in Social Text,a respectable American journal. His target was the Postmodern Relativism, "for which intellectual discussion is nothing more than a power struggle involving a mixture of persuasion, coercion and negotiation" [1].

Together with J. Bricmont, A. Sokal published in 1998 Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science (N.Y, Picador, USA), translated in around 15 languages,including Portuguese [2]. ICMP Lisbon will take advantage of the presence of these authors, members of the International Association of Mathematical Physics (IAMP), in holding a public round table, Thursday July 31, at 21:30, about the present status of what some have called a "Science War" between Social and Natural Sciences.

The official language of the round table is English, but the general public will be able to ask questions in Portuguese (and, in some cases,to even get answers in Portuguese!).

  1. "Science and Sociology of Science:Beyond war and peace", published in One Culture?: A conversation about Science, Jay Labinger and Harry Collins (eds.) (Univ. Chicago Press, 2001), pp. 27-47. Available on-line at http://physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/collins_v4b_clean.pdf.
  2. J. Bricmont, A. Sokal, Imposturas Intelectuais, Ciência Aberta, Gradiva (1999).