How Well Do Facts Travel?: The Dissemination of Reliable Knowledge

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Peter Howlett, Mary S. Morgan
Cambridge University Press, Nov 15, 2010 - Science
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This book discusses how facts travel, and when and why they sometimes travel well enough to acquire a life of their own. Whether or not facts travel in this manner depends not only on their character and ability to play useful roles elsewhere, but also on the labels, packaging, vehicles and company that take them across difficult terrains and over disciplinary boundaries. These diverse stories of travelling facts, ranging from architecture to nanotechnology and from romance fiction to climate science, change the way we see the nature of facts. Facts are far from the bland and rather boring but useful objects that scientists and humanists produce and fit together to make narratives, arguments and evidence. Rather, their extraordinary abilities to travel well shows when, how and why facts can be used to build further knowledge beyond and away from their sites of original production and intended use.

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Part Two Matters of Fact
Part Three Integrity and Fruitfulness
Part Four Companionship and Character

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About the author (2010)

Peter Howlett is an expert on the economic history of the First and Second World Wars and contributed the text for the official history: Fighting with Figures. Dr Howlett's publications also explore international economic growth and convergence since 1870 and the development of internal labor markets and have appeared in edited volumes and journals such as the Economic History Review, Explorations in Economic History and Business History. He teaches at the London School of Economics and is Secretary of the Economic History Society.

Mary S. Morgan is Professor of History and Philosophy of Economics at the London School of Economics and the University of Amsterdam. She has published widely on topics ranging from statistics to experiments to narrative, and from social Darwinism in late-nineteenth-century America to game theory in the Cold War. Her major works include The History of Econometric Ideas (Cambridge, 1990), The Foundations of Econometric Analysis (Cambridge, 1995, co-edited with David F. Hendry), and Models as Mediators (Cambridge, 1999, co-edited with Margaret Morrison). Professor Morgan's account of scientific modeling is forthcoming in The World in the Model. She is currently engaged in the research project 'Re-Thinking Case Studies Across the Social Sciences' as a British Academy-Wolfson Research Professor.

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