David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1082-1096 (2011)
Contrary to the claim that measurement standards are absolutely accurate by definition, I argue that unit definitions do not completely fix the referents of unit terms. Instead, idealized models play a crucial semantic role in coordinating the theoretical definition of a unit with its multiple concrete realizations. The accuracy of realizations is evaluated by comparing them to each other in light of their respective models. The epistemic credentials of this method are examined and illustrated through an analysis of the contemporary standardization of time. I distinguish among five senses of ‘measurement accuracy’ and clarify how idealizations enable the assessment of accuracy in each sense.
|Keywords||Measurement Accuracy Standards Physics Models Idealizations|
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