Medicine And Books

Trust in Numbers

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 12 August 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:460
  1. Ann Oakley

    Theodore M Porter Princeton University Press, pp 310 ISBN 0 691 03776 0

    Few of us probably think of science as a solution to the problem of trust. Yet concepts such as objectivity and validity are the mark of a society that is no longer organised around personal knowledge and local communities. Such a society calls for a type of knowledge capable of seeming to be independent of particular people. This is science.

    As we all now know, science is socially constructed: who scientists are and where and when they live help to explain the science they do. Yet, as Theodore M Porter, a historian of science, rightly points out in Trust in Numbers, understanding that science is a social product in no …

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