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Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science Presents

THE PARADOX OF REPRESENTATIONAL MEASUREMENT Joel Michell

12/12/18, 3:30 PM

About this event

THE PARADOX OF REPRESENTATIONAL MEASUREMENT

Joel Michell
University of Sydney, Faculty of Science

That area of philosophy of science called “measurement theory”, “philosophy of measurement” or “logic of measurement”, arose late in the nineteenth century in response to two causes: scientistic attempts to extend the practice of measurement to attributes postulated by psychologists; and a modernist push to redefine mathematics as a freestanding body of knowledge independent of the empirical world.  The result was representational conceptions of measurement (whereby measurement is understood as mappings between empirical structures and numerical structures (e.g., Krantz, et al., 1971; Suppes, et al., 1989; & Luce, et al., 1990)) replaced traditional, Euclidean conceptions (whereby measurement is understood as estimation of real numbers (ratios between magnitudes and units) (exemplified by Hölder, 1901)).  The former “remains the most influential mathematical theory of measurement to date” (Tal, 2017).  I argue that representational theories entail a paradox: numerical structures are both non-empirical and empirical.  Resolving this paradox reinstates the traditional conception (Michell, 1997) and along with it an Aristotelian, realist conception of number (Franklin, 2014).

This public lecture is free, no registration is required.
Contact: Janet McKernan mcps@umn.edu 612-625-6635
Event Location
  • N219 Elliott Hall
  • 75 E River Rd
  • Minneapolis MN
  • USA - United States