Books et al.Mathematics

Quantifying culture

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Science  07 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6308, pp. 45
DOI: 10.1126/science.aai8110

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Given the near-constant drumbeat promoting the promise of "Moneyball" methods, "data-mining" algorithms, and statistical models, one might argue that there is no need to defend mathematics in the early 21st century. Yet Steven Connor's Living by Numbers: In Defence of Quantity opens with the assertion that the "strength and prevalence" of an "anti-numerical animus" is "remarkable." His response, in this erudite and wide-ranging book, to those who lament the expansion of numerical methods into the humanities is that they fail to realize the degree to which math has been there all along.