‘Sokal Squared’: Is Huge Publishing Hoax ‘Hilarious and Delightful’ or an Ugly Example of Dishonesty and Bad Faith?

Alexander C. Kafka in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Some scholars applauded the hoax.

“Is there any idea so outlandish that it won’t be published in a Critical/PoMo/Identity/‘Theory’ journal?” tweeted the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker.

“Three intrepid academics,” wrote Yascha Mounk, an author and lecturer on government at Harvard, “just perpetrated a giant version of the Sokal Hoax, placing … fake papers in major academic journals. Call it Sokal Squared. The result is hilarious and delightful. It also showcases a serious problem with big parts of academia.”

In the original Sokal Hoax, in 1996, a New York University physicist named Alan Sokal published a bogus paper that took aim at some of the same targets as his latter-day successors.

Others were less receptive than Mounk. “This is a genre,” tweeted Kieran Healy, a sociologist at Duke, “and they’re in it for the lulz” — the laughs. “Best not to lose sight of that.”

“Good work is hard to do,” he wrote, “incentives to publish are perverse; there’s a lot of crap out there; if you hate an area enough, you can gin up a fake paper and get it published somewhere if you try. The question is, what do you hate? And why is that?”

More here.