17 thoughts on “Sandra Harding Interviewed

  1. Interesting interview. Brava to Harding for the hat-tip to Joseph Needham, too little-read these days.

  2. The comments are harsh. I didn’t find it to be “jargon heavy” and I have very little background in philosophy. Has anyone done studies on men who flock to feminist websites to assassinate the characters of feminist scholars?

  3. Funny — the person who said it was “jargon-heavy” is named ‘Elene’. So maybe someone should do a study on women who flock to feminist websites to assassinate the characters of feminist scholars!

  4. Yes, slideraway, that just obliterates the tone of the comments made by David. “This woman is a professor??? Incredible. She doesn’t seem to understand the difference between atheism and secularism. She should learn the difference before she starts talking.”

    Admittedly, I should have made two one-sentence paragraphs, but why, on a feminist philosopher’s website, would the idea of studying men who flock to feminist websites to assassinate the characters of feminist scholars be in the slightest bit remarkable?

  5. For giggles, I decided to click and see Elene’s webpage. Apparently Elene practices “Toyo Hari meridian therapy” in order to “balance the Qi.” She also uses a “teishin.”

    Irony alert!

  6. Okay, mr. Smarty-pants, What do you use to “balance the Qi”? I mean, it’s just common sense to use Toyo Hari meridian therapy, isn’t it?

  7. I was vaguely wondering if some commenter was going to mention the connection between Harding’s writing and the Sokal hoax, and sure enough one of the Ms. commenters did. I wonder if that was somewhat difficult to live down.

  8. Wileywitch, it’s remarkable only in that it seems odd to restrict the study to men, especially given that the one example that struck you enough to mention was apparently written by a woman.

  9. Nemo, if it is true that Harding communicated with Sokal before publication of his paper and attempted to correct apparent misunderstandings of her work — which Sokal did not really engage with — then I would suppose the connection was not all that difficult to live down. Ought Kuhn to have thought something about his connection to the paper? But I don’t see much here beyond speculation.

  10. CM, is there evidence that the antecedent of the conditional is true? (I’ve never heard that aspect of the story, if it is indeed true.)

  11. Pardon me; the person who communicated with Harding, and admits to not really engaging with her replies, was Steven Weinberg in his article about the Sokal affair for the NYRB.

    Even given the false antecedent (sorry again), I’m just not sure what Harding had to “live down” that other philosophers cited in the paper, like Kuhn, did not. Would someone have made the same comment if this were an interview of Kuhn? But again, this is all speculation. I just don’t get what the point is.

  12. CM, did anyone suggest that Harding was being singled out among Sokal’s sources on any other grounds (regardless of whether such grounds exist) than that, en l’occurrence, she is the subject of the interview in question? That’s an odd leap.

    Thomas Kuhn, sadly, had little time to live anything down, as he passed away the month after Sokal’s “Transgressing the Boundaries” was published. Unfortunately for the readership of Ms.Magazine Online, that’s one interview that will never happen.

  13. Nemo, I’m aware of the timeline regarding Kuhn; thanks. I’m still not sure what you were trying to suggest about what Harding might have had to live down, and I had hoped you would clarify the point of your earlier comment, but your concern about the readership of Ms. Magazine is noted.

  14. CM, “point” may be too demanding a word for such a casually-ventured musing, but if you’re asking me to clarify what I was referring to when I said “I wonder if that was somewhat difficult [for Harding] to live down”, I was referring to any embarrassment (whether or not justified) arising from the Sokal affair. Or were you implying that it’s not clear how someone could reasonably think that the Sokal affair might have been a source, directly or indirectly, of some degree of professional embarrassment for Harding?

    Indeed, the connection is not just merely that Harding was one of the authors most heavily cited in “Transgressing the Boundaries”; she’s a repeat contributor to the journal in which it appeared (and, if memory serves, actually had an article published in the very same issue as Sokal). If nothing else, I should think I might blush to see a journal in which I was published (thus contributing to my own professional standing) exposed as having, as Paul Boghossian put it, “a sublime indifference to the content, truth and plausibility of a scholarly submission accepted for publication.” But perhaps not.

    By the way, for anyone out there who hasn’t read it, Boghossian’s take on the Sokal affair and its lessons for, among other things, cultural studies critiques of science is one of the better ones from a philosopher:


  15. Well, I assumed that since you had bothered to comment, you had some purpose beyond reporting a casual musing, so maybe that helps answer your question. My bad.

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