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Foundational aspects of theories of measurement

Foundational aspects of theories of measurement <jats:p>It is a scientific platitude that there can be neither precise control nor prediction of phenomena without measurement. Disciplines are diverse as cosmology and social psychology provide evidence that it is nearly useless to have an exactly formulated quantitative theory if empirically feasible methods of measurement cannot be developed for a substantial portion of the quantitative concepts of the theory. Given a physical concept like that of mass or a psychological concept like that of habit strength, the point of a theory of measurement is to lay bare the structure of a collection of empirical relations which may be used to measure the characteristic of empirical phenomena corresponding to the concept. Why a collection of relations? From an abstract standpoint a set of empirical data consists of a collection of relations between specified objects. For example, data on the relative weights of a set of physical objects are easily represented by an ordering relation on the set; additional data, and a fortiori an additional relation, are needed to yield a satisfactory quantitative measurement of the masses of the objects.</jats:p><jats:p>The major source of difficulty in providing an adequate theory of measurement is to construct relations which have an exact and reasonable numerical interpretation and yet also have a technically practical empirical interpretation. The classical analyses of the measurement of mass, for instance, have the embarrassing consequence that the basic set of objects measured must be infinite. Here the relations postulated have acceptable numerical interpretations, but are utterly unsuitable empirically. Conversely, as we shall see in the last section of this paper, the structure of relations which have a sound empirical meaning often cannot be succinctly characterized so as to guarantee a desired numerical interpretation.</jats:p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Symbolic Logic CrossRef

Foundational aspects of theories of measurement

Journal of Symbolic Logic , Volume 23 (2): 113-128 – Jun 1, 1958

Foundational aspects of theories of measurement


Abstract

<jats:p>It is a scientific platitude that there can be neither precise control nor prediction of phenomena without measurement. Disciplines are diverse as cosmology and social psychology provide evidence that it is nearly useless to have an exactly formulated quantitative theory if empirically feasible methods of measurement cannot be developed for a substantial portion of the quantitative concepts of the theory. Given a physical concept like that of mass or a psychological concept like that of habit strength, the point of a theory of measurement is to lay bare the structure of a collection of empirical relations which may be used to measure the characteristic of empirical phenomena corresponding to the concept. Why a collection of relations? From an abstract standpoint a set of empirical data consists of a collection of relations between specified objects. For example, data on the relative weights of a set of physical objects are easily represented by an ordering relation on the set; additional data, and a fortiori an additional relation, are needed to yield a satisfactory quantitative measurement of the masses of the objects.</jats:p><jats:p>The major source of difficulty in providing an adequate theory of measurement is to construct relations which have an exact and reasonable numerical interpretation and yet also have a technically practical empirical interpretation. The classical analyses of the measurement of mass, for instance, have the embarrassing consequence that the basic set of objects measured must be infinite. Here the relations postulated have acceptable numerical interpretations, but are utterly unsuitable empirically. Conversely, as we shall see in the last section of this paper, the structure of relations which have a sound empirical meaning often cannot be succinctly characterized so as to guarantee a desired numerical interpretation.</jats:p>

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Publisher
CrossRef
ISSN
0022-4812
DOI
10.2307/2964389
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

<jats:p>It is a scientific platitude that there can be neither precise control nor prediction of phenomena without measurement. Disciplines are diverse as cosmology and social psychology provide evidence that it is nearly useless to have an exactly formulated quantitative theory if empirically feasible methods of measurement cannot be developed for a substantial portion of the quantitative concepts of the theory. Given a physical concept like that of mass or a psychological concept like that of habit strength, the point of a theory of measurement is to lay bare the structure of a collection of empirical relations which may be used to measure the characteristic of empirical phenomena corresponding to the concept. Why a collection of relations? From an abstract standpoint a set of empirical data consists of a collection of relations between specified objects. For example, data on the relative weights of a set of physical objects are easily represented by an ordering relation on the set; additional data, and a fortiori an additional relation, are needed to yield a satisfactory quantitative measurement of the masses of the objects.</jats:p><jats:p>The major source of difficulty in providing an adequate theory of measurement is to construct relations which have an exact and reasonable numerical interpretation and yet also have a technically practical empirical interpretation. The classical analyses of the measurement of mass, for instance, have the embarrassing consequence that the basic set of objects measured must be infinite. Here the relations postulated have acceptable numerical interpretations, but are utterly unsuitable empirically. Conversely, as we shall see in the last section of this paper, the structure of relations which have a sound empirical meaning often cannot be succinctly characterized so as to guarantee a desired numerical interpretation.</jats:p>

Journal

Journal of Symbolic LogicCrossRef

Published: Jun 1, 1958

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