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Accounting for Error: How Scientists Construct their Social World when they Account for Correct and Incorrect Belief

Mulkay, MJ and Gilbert, GN (1982) Accounting for Error: How Scientists Construct their Social World when they Account for Correct and Incorrect Belief Sociology, 16 (2). pp. 165-183.

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Abstract

There is an asymmetry in the procedures used by natural scientists to account for `correct belief' and for `error'. Correct belief is treated as the normal state of affairs, as deriving unproblematically from experimental evidence, and as requiring no special explanation. Errors are seen as something to be explained away, as due to the intrusion of non-scientific influences. An elaborate repertoire of interpretative resources is employed in accounting for error. Asymmetrical accounting for error and for correct belief is a social device which reinforces the traditional conception of scientific rationality and which makes the community of scientists appear as the kind of community we, and they, recognize as scientific.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Sociology
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Mulkay, MJUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Gilbert, GNn.gilbert@surrey.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Date : May 1982
Identification Number : 10.1177/0038038582016002001
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 16 May 2017 14:48
Last Modified : 18 May 2017 12:59
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/814995

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