Psychophysics, intensive magnitudes, and the psychometricians' fallacy

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 37 (3):414-432 (2006)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

As an aspiring science in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, psychology pursued quantification. A problem was that degrees of psychological attributes were experienced only as greater than, less than, or equal to one another. They were categorised as intensive magnitudes. The meaning of this concept was shifting, from that of an attribute possessing underlying quantitative structure to that of a merely ordinal attribute . This fluidity allowed psychologists to claim that their attributes were intensive magnitudes and measurable . This claim was supported by an argument that order entails quantity. As adapted by psychometricians, the argument was that if an attribute is ordered, then the differences between its degrees are quantitative and, therefore, measurable. However, in a paper ignored in psychology for six decades, the issue was resolved mathematically and the resolution implies that the psychometricians’ argument was fallacious

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,623

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Psychophysics, intensive magnitudes, and the psychometricians’ fallacy.Joel Michell - 2006 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 37 (3):414-432.
Quantity and Quality: Some Aspects of Measurement.Arnold Koslow - 1982 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1982:183 - 198.
Thermoscopes, thermometers, and the foundations of measurement.David Sherry - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (4):509-524.
Hermann von Helmholtz and the Quantification Problem of Psychophysics.Francesca Biagioli - 2023 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 54 (1):39-54.
Has psychology “found its true path”? Methods, objectivity, and cries of “crisis” in early twentieth-century French psychology.John Carson - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (2):445-454.
Has psychology “found its true path”? Methods, objectivity, and cries of “crisis” in early twentieth-century French psychology.John Carson - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43 (2):445-454.

Analytics

Added to PP
2010-08-30

Downloads
78 (#211,172)

6 months
9 (#456,657)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

References found in this work

Critique of Pure Reason.I. Kant - 1787/1998 - Philosophy 59 (230):555-557.
The basic works of Aristotle. Aristotle - 1941 - New York: Modern Library. Edited by Richard McKeon.
Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science.Immanuel Kant - 1970 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Michael Friedman.
Time and free will: an essay on the immediate data of consciousness.Henri Bergson - 1913 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. Edited by Frank Lubecki Pogson.
Basic Measurement Theory.Patrick Suppes & Joseph Zinnes - 1963 - In D. Luce (ed.), Handbook of Mathematical Psychology. John Wiley & Sons.. pp. 1-76.

View all 16 references / Add more references