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A Visible Hand in the Marketplace of Ideas: Precision Measurement as Arbitage

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 September 2008

Philip Mirowski
Department of EconomicsUniversity of Notre Dame


While there has been muchattention given to experiment in modern science studies, there has been astoundingly little concern spared over the practice of quanitataive measurment.Thus myths about the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematice in science still abound. This paper presents: (a) An explicit mathematical model of the stabilization of quantitative constants in a mathematical science to rival older Bayesian and classical accounts;(b)a framework for writing a history of pracitces with regard to treatment of quantitative measurement erroe;(c) resourece for the comparative sociology of differing discipliness in this regard;and (d) a prolegonmena to a critique of orthodox economics and accounting theories. The key to all these diverse themes is the realization that no one individual alone is capable of fixing the magnitude of a quantitative error estimate, and therefore the social construction of error must be given a more precise meaning, an therefore the social construction of error must be given a more precise menaing, and that this occurs through the istrumentality of meta-analysis

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1994

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