Measurement

Authored by: Hasok Chang , Nancy Cartwright

The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Science

Print publication date:  August  2013
Online publication date:  July  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415518741
eBook ISBN: 9780203744857
Adobe ISBN: 9781135011093

10.4324/9780203744857.ch38

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Abstract

Measurement is one of the most distinctive and pervasive features of modern science, but it is not easy to say what measurement actually is. Philosophers commonly define measurement as the correct assignment of numbers to physical variables. There are many difficult philosophical and practical questions about whether a measurement is made correctly and how we can know that it is. Various philosophical views surrounding these questions are discussed next; in the final two sections, we highlight concrete questions concerning the practice of measurement in the physical and the social sciences.

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