“THE ABSENCE OF ABSENCE”. I posted here on the “Sokal Hoax”. In 1996, Alan Sokal, a physics professor, submitted a fake article to Social Text, an academic journal of postmodern cultural studies. The hoax was directed against a point of view that “questioned the validity of scientific objectivity”. The paper proposed that quantum gravity is a social and linguistic construct. The paper was accepted and published. Since then, there have been several similar hoaxes.

Here is the story of another such hoax. Peter Dreier confesses to submitting an abstract in 2010 of a paper to be presented at a panel on “The Absence of Absence” at the annual international conference of the Society for Social Studies of Science to be held in Tokyo. Dreier says: “The….abstract of the proposed paper was pure gibberish….I tried, as best I could within the limits of my own vocabulary, to write something that had many big words but which made no sense whatsoever.” The paper was accepted, but Dreier decided not to attend the conference. The title of Dreier’s proposed paper was: ““Music, Religion, Politics, and Everyday Life: The Tensions of Utopianism and Pragmatism in Movements for Change.” The text of the abstract is at the link.

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