Trust in numbers
the pursuit of objectivity in science and public life
- ISBN: 9780691208411
- Editorial: Princeton University Press
- Fecha de la edición: 2020
- Lugar de la edición: Princeton (NJ). Estados Unidos de Norteamérica
- Encuadernación: Rústica
- Medidas: 23 cm
- Nº Pág.: 344
- Idiomas: Inglés
A foundational work on historical and social studies of quantification
What accounts for the prestige of quantitative methods? The usual answer is that quantification is desirable in social investigation as a result of its successes in science. Trust in Numbers questions whether such success in the study of stars, molecules, or cells should be an attractive model for research on human societies, and examines why the natural sciences are highly quantitative in the first place. Theodore Porter argues that a better understanding of the attractions of quantification in business, government, and social research brings a fresh perspective to its role in psychology, physics, and medicine. Quantitative rigor is not inherent in science but arises from political and social pressures, and objectivity derives its impetus from cultural contexts. In a new preface, the author sheds light on the current infatuation with quantitative methods, particularly at the intersection of science and bureaucracy.
Introduction: Cultures of objectivity
Power in numbers: A world of artifice ; How social numbers are made valid ; Economic measurement and the values of science ; The political philosophy of quantification
Technologies of trust: Experts against objectivity : accountants and actuaries ; French State engineers and the ambiguities of technocracy ; U.S. Army Engineers and the rise of cost-benefit analysis
Political and scientific communities: Objectivity and the politics of disciplines ; Is science made by communities?