Nick Brown

Health Psychology Department, University of Groningen

"Intellectual Impostures Within Science: Sokal Takes On Physics Envy"

The occasional tendency of psychologists to try to turn the study of human behaviour into a hard science is sometimes known as "physics envy". Psychologists will, of course, tell you that this is a dreadful caricature, that nothing could be further from the truth, and anyway they definitely don't have anything to do with that guy Freud any more. Then, one day, an obscure graduate student following an obscure course at an obscure college discovered a case of physics envy that was so egregious, he felt that it could only be described as an intellectual imposture. It seemed to this student that there was only one person to whom he could turn to sort out this situation...