Spring 2011

Numbers Rule the World.


Jerome L. Himmelstein (Section 01)


"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.  Spring semester.  Professor Himmelstein

If Overenrolled: By the end of the first week of class, the instructor will try to select students from a wide range of majors to assemble an intellectually diverse and hopefully intellectually stimulating class.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2010, Spring 2011