Reading Measuring Instruments

Spontaneous Generations 4 (1):85-93 (2010)
Abstract
The design, maintenance and use of all measuring instruments involve indicators of the thing, property, or event they are expected to detect or measure. And every quantitative indicator is a functional relation between imperceptible and perceptible facts—for example, the “flow” of time and the rotation of a watch’s hands. The empirical test of any quantitative hypothesis involves the translation of the unobservable variables occurring in it into the observable variable(s) in the indicator hypothesis. Yet, indicators have escaped the notice of nearly all philosophers of science—a fact that may indicate unfamiliarity with laboratory work
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