Causal complexity and psychological measurement

Philosophical Psychology (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Psychological measurement has received strong criticism throughout the history of psychological science. Nevertheless, measurements of attributes such as emotions or intelligence continue to be widely used in research and society. I address this puzzle by presenting a new causal perspective to psychological measurement. I start with assumptions that both critics and proponents of psychological measurement are likely to accept: a minimal causal condition and the observation that most psychological concepts are ill-defined or ambiguous. Based on this, I argue that psychological measurement is fundamentally different from measurement in the physical sciences but can nevertheless be useful.

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