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Metascience

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 149–152 | Cite as

Trivial pursuit: the case of the travelling facts

Peter Howlett and Mary Morgan (eds): How well do facts travel? The dissemination of reliable knowledge. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, 465pp, $31.99 PB
  • Ioannis Votsis
Book Review

What happens when facts, real or hypothesised, are used in a context different to the one where they were discovered or produced? What facilitates and what hinders their inter-contextual journeys? Do they undergo any changes in the course of their travels? How fruitful are they when they arrive at a new destination? Under what conditions can we say that facts have travelled well? The sixteen essays in this volume, co-edited by Howlett and Morgan, attempt to address these prima facie alluring questions and others like them.

The volume’s contributors hail mostly from the social, and in particular the historical, studies of science. Each contribution opens a window into the (occasionally bidirectional) travels of facts between contexts. The contexts are variably manifested. Sometimes they are distinct scientific disciplines as, for example, in Ramsden’s essay where facts about the crowding of rats found their way from ecology to social and behavioural science. At times they involve the...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophical Institute/SFB 991University of DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany

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