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

Accounting for Error: How Scientists Construct their Social World when they Account for Correct... 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.These conclusions are based on a detailed analysis of interviews with researchers in an area of biochemistry. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sociology SAGE

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

Sociology , Volume 16 (2): 19 – May 1, 1982

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References (3)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
Copyright © by SAGE Publications
ISSN
0038-0385
eISSN
1469-8684
DOI
10.1177/0038038582016002001
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

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.These conclusions are based on a detailed analysis of interviews with researchers in an area of biochemistry.

Journal

SociologySAGE

Published: May 1, 1982

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