"Numbers rule the world," many scholars agree. That is, they have become “the dominant form of acceptable evidence in most areas of public life.” We will examine these claims and their implications by asking several questions: How did numbers come to rule? What kinds of numbers? Where do numbers rule and where don't they? What differences do they make? How are the numbers and scientific claims we encounter created? How do they change as they travel from their original scientific context into everyday life? Ultimately, we seek to improve our ability to understand and evaluate the numbers and related scientific claims we encounter by seeing them as human creations, not just as "nuggets of objective fact."
Limited to 15 students. Preference to juniors and seniors. Spring semester. Professor Himmelstein.