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p. 687. Objectivity in numbers?locked

  • Stephen Gaukroger

Abstract

‘Objectivity in numbers?’ considers the connection between objectivity and numerical presentation. Logical positivists believed that if scientific theories were to be truly objective, they had to be in numerical form. This form of standardisation hoped to achieve universality: the idea is that everyone follows the same procedure. Quantification is used from population statistics to government league tables, but does this quantitative objectivity replace sound judgement? There is a place for quantification to complement judgements, however. Examples are decision theory used in hospital triage and allocation of restricted resources.

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