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Tuesday, January 08, 2019

University professor to face discipline for exposing shoddy scholarship

A scholar whose careful fiction helped expose the rot within some sectors of the modern academy is now under fire from his home, Portland State University, although prominent academics throughout the West have sprung to his defense.

Peter Boghossian, an assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University in Oregon, led a trio of scholars last year who submitted what they called “intentionally broken” papers to leading publications on gender, race and sexuality. Several of the absurd pieces were published.

Now, Portland State has initiated disciplinary action against Mr. Boghossian for an alleged breach of the institution’s ethical guidelines.

Among the renowned international scholars urging Portland State to forego such action is Oxford’s Professor Emeritus Richard Dawkins, who compared administrators to the duplicitous pigs in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”

“My first response on reading of the punitive investigation into Dr Peter Boghossian’s brilliant hoax was to let out a howl of incredulous mirth,” Mr. Dawkins wrote on Dec. 14. “Do your humourless colleagues who brought this action want Portland State to become the laughing stock of the academic world? Or at least the world of serious scientific scholarship uncontaminated by pretentious charlatans of exactly the kind Dr Boghossian and his colleagues were satirising?”

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