Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 34 (3):515-573 (2003)
|Abstract||In 1887 Helmholtz discussed the foundations of measurement in science as a last contribution to his philosophy of knowledge. This essay borrowed from earlier debates on the foundations of mathematics (Grassmann / Du Bois), on the possibility of quantitative psychology (Fechner / Kries, Wundt / Zeller), and on the meaning of temperature measurement (Maxwell, Mach). Late nineteenth-century scrutinisers of the foundations of mathematics (Dedekind, Cantor, Frege, Russell) made little of Helmholtz's essay. Yet it inspired two mathematicians with an eye on physics (Poincare and Holder), and a few philosopher-physicists (Mach, Duhem, Campbell). The aim of the present paper is to situate Helmholtz's contribution in this complex array of nineteenth-century philosophies of number, quantity, and measurement.|
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