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Profile: Eran Tal (Cambridge University)
  1. Eran Tal (2013). Old and New Problems in Philosophy of Measurement. Philosophy Compass 8 (12):1159-1173.
    The philosophy of measurement studies the conceptual, ontological, epistemic, and technological conditions that make measurement possible and reliable. A new wave of philosophical scholarship has emerged in the last decade that emphasizes the material and historical dimensions of measurement and the relationships between measurement and theoretical modeling. This essay surveys these developments and contrasts them with earlier work on the semantics of quantity terms and the representational character of measurement. The conclusions highlight four characteristics of (...)
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    Eran Tal (2011). How Accurate Is the Standard Second? Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1082-1096.
    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 (...)
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  3. Eran Tal (2012). The Epistemology of Measurement: A Model-Based Account. Dissertation, University of Toronto
    This work develops an epistemology of measurement, that is, an account of the conditions under which measurement and standardization methods produce knowledge as well as the nature, scope, and limits of this knowledge. I focus on three questions: (i) how is it possible to tell whether an instrument measures the quantity it is intended to? (ii) what do claims to measurement accuracy amount to, and how might such claims be justified? (iii) when is disagreement among instruments a sign of error, (...)
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    Eran Tal (2011). From Data to Phenomena and Back Again: Computer-Simulated Signatures. Synthese 182 (1):117-129.
    This paper draws attention to an increasingly common method of using computer simulations to establish evidential standards in physics. By simulating an actual detection procedure on a computer, physicists produce patterns of data (‘signatures’) that are expected to be observed if a sought-after phenomenon is present. Claims to detect the phenomenon are evaluated by comparing such simulated signatures with actual data. Here I provide a justification for this practice by showing how computer simulations establish the reliability of detection procedures. I (...)
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    Eran Tal (2015). Michael Weisbergsimulation and Similarity: Using Models to Understand the World. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (2):469-473.
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