Realist foundations of measurement

Philosophy of Science 40 (1):10-28 (1973)
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This paper defends a realist interpretation of theories and a modest realism concerning the existence of quantities as providing the best account both of the logic of quantity concepts and of scientific measurement practices. Various operationist analyses of measurement are shown to be inadequate accounts of measurement practices used by scientists. We argue, furthermore, that appeals to implicit definitions to provide meaning for theoretical terms over and above operational definitions fail because implicit definitions cannot generate the requisite descriptive content. The special case of establishing a temperature scale is examined to show that nonrealist accounts fail to provide insight into the theoretical connections that scientific laws postulate to hold among quantities



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Citations of this work

Old and New Problems in Philosophy of Measurement.Eran Tal - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (12):1159-1173.
What Realism Implies and What it Does Not.Richard Boyd - 1989 - Dialectica 43 (1‐2):5-29.
Measurement in Science.Eran Tal - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The metaphysics of quantity.Brent Mundy - 1987 - Philosophical Studies 51 (1):29 - 54.
Individuating quantities.Eran Tal - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (4):853-878.

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References found in this work

Philosophical investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein & G. E. M. Anscombe - 1953 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 161:124-124.
The Logic of Modern Physics.P. W. Bridgman - 1927 - Mind 37 (147):355-361.
Basic Concepts of Measurement.Brian Ellis - 1967 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 17 (4):323-326.

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