About this topic
Summary Measurement is a fundamental empirical process aimed at acquiring and codifying information about an entity, the object or system under measurement. This process is commonly interpreted in functional terms as a production process, accomplished by means of a measurement system, whose input is the system under measurement and whose output is a piece of information, the property value, about a certain instance of a general property of that system, the measurand. As a consequence, the central problem concerning the definition of measurement turns into the one of characterizing the just mentioned process. When an empirical general property is specified, any system under measurement can be viewed as a member of a class of systems characterized by that property. When provided with a set of relations between its elements, this class is called an empirical relational system and measurement can be conceived of as a mapping assigning numbers to elements of this system in such a way that the relations between these elements are preserved by relations between numbers in a numerical relational system. This is the model underlying the so-called representational theory of measurement, considered nowadays the standard measurement theory. According to this model to measure is to construct a representation of an empirical system to a numerical system, under the hypothesis that relations in the empirical system are somehow observable. The model has many merits, but it is also subject to many problems. In particular, the crucial drawback is given by the difficulty of linking the proposed conception of measurement with the way in which measurement is accounted for from a metrological point of view, specifically the point of view underlying the International Vocabulary of Metrology. Hence, the debate concerning the characterization of measurement is still open, where the principal task consists in defining a general model aiming at (i) providing a sound interpretation of measurement as structured process; (ii) identifying the ontological conditions to be fulfilled for measurement to be possible; (iii) identifying the epistemic conditions to be fulfilled for measurement results to be able to justify empirical assertions.
Key works The representational theory of measurement has its roots in the work of Scott and Suppes 1958 and has found its more extensive exposition in the three volumes of the Foundations of Measurement (1971, 1989, 1990), but see also Roberts 1985, for a more friendly presentation, and Narens 1985. The metrological standpoint is summarized in the International Vocabulary of Metrology (VIM). For a problematization of the representational theory see Domotor et al. 2008, where an analytical approach to measurement is developed, and Frigerio et al. 2010, where a synthesis between the representional approach and the metrological approach is proposed.
Introductions See Suppes 2002 for a general introduction to the representational standpoint.
Related categories

190 found
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  1. added 2018-12-20
    Metaphysics and Measurement. Essays in Scientific RevolutionAlexandre KoyréÉtudes d'Histoire de la Pensée scientifiqueAlexandre Koyré.Marie Boas Hall - 1969 - Isis 60 (1):111-112.
  2. added 2018-11-08
    The Mismeasure of Consciousness: A Problem of Coordination for the Perceptual Awareness Scale.Matthias Michel - 2018 - Philosophy of Science.
    As for most measurement procedures in the course of their development, measures of consciousness face the problem of coordination, i.e., the problem of knowing whether a measurement procedure actually measures what it is intended to measure. I focus on the case of the Perceptual Awareness Scale to illustrate how ignoring this problem leads to ambiguous interpretations of subjective reports in consciousness science. In turn, I show that empirical results based on this measurement procedure might be systematically misinterpreted.
  3. added 2018-11-07
    Delineating Psychopathy From Cognitive Empathy: The Case of Psychopathic Personality Traits Scale.Janko Međedović, Tara Bulut, Drago Savić & Nikola Đuričić - 2018 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 14 (1):53-62.
    There is an ongoing debate regarding the content of psychopathy, especially about the status of antisocial behavior and disinhibition characteristics as core psychopathy features. Psychopathic Personality Traits Scale (PPTS) represents a novel model of psychopathy based on core psychopathy markers such as Interpersonal manipulation, Egocentricity and Affective responsiveness. However, this model presupposes another narrow trait of psychopathy: cognitive responsiveness, which represents a lack of cognitive empathy. Since previous models of psychopathy do not depict this feature as a core psychopathy trait, (...)
  4. added 2018-08-11
    The Jury's Still Out on What Constitutes a Microaggression.Musa Al-Gharbi - 2018 - In Gary Weiner (ed.), Microaggressions, Trigger Warnings & Safe Spaces. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Greenhaven Press. pp. 106-13.
    In "Microaggressions: Strong Claims, Inadequate Evidence," Scott Lillenfeld argues that, despite a decade of scholarship, the Microaggression Research Program (MRP) continues to suffer serious analytic and evidentiary problems. After walking through these shortcomings, he provides 18 suggestions to help improve the reliability and utility of the MRP. In "Microaggressions and 'Evidence': Experimental or Experiential Reality?" Derald Wing Sue responds. This chapter provides background on the origin of the MRP, and referees the dispute between Lillenfeld and Sue about its contemporary status.
  5. added 2018-08-03
    Is It Possible to Give Scientific Solutions to Grand Challenges? On the Idea of Grand Challenges for Life Science Research.Sophia Efstathiou - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 56:46-61.
    This paper argues that challenges that are grand in scope such as "lifelong health and wellbeing", "climate action", or "food security" cannot be addressed through scientific research only. Indeed scientific research could inhibit addressing such challenges if scientific analysis constrains the multiple possible understandings of these challenges into already available scientific categories and concepts without translating between these and everyday concerns. This argument builds on work in philosophy of science and race to postulate a process through which non-scientific notions become (...)
  6. added 2018-07-04
    Three Arguments for Absolute Outcome Measures.Jan Sprenger & Jacob Stegenga - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):840-852.
    Data from medical research are typically summarized with various types of outcome measures. We present three arguments in favor of absolute over relative outcome measures. The first argument is from cognitive bias: relative measures promote the reference class fallacy and the overestimation of treatment effectiveness. The second argument is decision-theoretic: absolute measures are superior to relative measures for making a decision between interventions. The third argument is causal: interpreted as measures of causal strength, absolute measures satisfy a set of desirable (...)
  7. added 2018-06-25
    Rescuing the Assertability of Measurement Reports.Michael J. Shaffer - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-13.
    It is wholly uncontroversial that measurements-or, more properly, propositions that are measurement reports-are often paradigmatically good cases of propositions that serve the function of evidence. In normal cases it is also obvious that stating such a report is an utterly pedestrian case of successful assertion. So, for example, there is nothing controversial about the following claims: (1) that a proposition to the effect that a particular thermometer reads 104C when properly used to determine the temperature of a particular patient is (...)
  8. added 2018-05-25
    Visual Representations in Science - Concept and Epistemology.Nicola Mößner - 2018 - London AND New York: Routledge.
    Visual representations (photographs, diagrams, etc.) play crucial roles in scientific processes. They help, for example, to communicate research results and hypotheses to scientific peers as well as to the lay audience. In genuine research activities they are used as evidence or as surrogates for research objects which are otherwise cognitively inaccessible. Despite their important functional roles in scientific practices, philosophers of science have more or less neglected visual representations in their analyses of epistemic methods and tools of reasoning in science. (...)
  9. added 2018-03-05
    Is Consistency Overrated?S. Andrew Schroeder - 2018 - Journal of Medical Ethics 44 (3):199-200.
    In their insightful article, ‘The Disvalue of Death in the Global Burden of Disease’, Solberg et al argue that there is a potential incoherence in the way disability-adjusted life years are calculated. Morbidity is measured in years lived with disability in a way quite unlike the way mortality is measured in years of life lost. This potentially renders them incommensurable, like apples and oranges, and makes their aggregate—DALYs—conceptually unsound. The authors say that it is ‘vital’ to address this problem, that (...)
  10. added 2018-02-17
    Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2008 - Oxford University Press UK.
  11. added 2017-12-04
    A Note Concerning the Epidemical Spread of Scientific Objects.Maria Nowakowska - 1976 - Theory and Decision 7 (1-2):141-142.
  12. added 2017-11-09
    A Structural Interpretation of Measurement and Some Related Epistemological Issues.Alessandro Giordani - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A:1-11.
    Measurement is widely applied because its results are assumed to be more reliable than opinions and guesses, but this reliability is sometimes justified in a stereotyped way. After a critical analysis of such stereotypes, a structural characterization of measurement is proposed, as partly empirical and partly theoretical process, by showing that it is in fact the structure of the process that guarantees the reliability of its results. On this basis the role and the structure of background knowledge in measurement and (...)
  13. added 2017-09-21
    Computer Simulation, Measurement, and Data Assimilation.Wendy S. Parker - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (1):273-304.
    This article explores some of the roles of computer simulation in measurement. A model-based view of measurement is adopted and three types of measurement—direct, derived, and complex—are distinguished. It is argued that while computer simulations on their own are not measurement processes, in principle they can be embedded in direct, derived, and complex measurement practices in such a way that simulation results constitute measurement outcomes. Atmospheric data assimilation is then considered as a case study. This practice, which involves combining information (...)
  14. added 2017-07-06
    Sensory Measurements: Coordination and Standardization.Ann-Sophie Barwich & Hasok Chang - 2015 - Biological Theory 10 (3):200-211.
    Do sensory measurements deserve the label of “measurement”? We argue that they do. They fit with an epistemological view of measurement held in current philosophy of science, and they face the same kinds of epistemological challenges as physical measurements do: the problem of coordination and the problem of standardization. These problems are addressed through the process of “epistemic iteration,” for all measurements. We also argue for distinguishing the problem of standardization from the problem of coordination. To exemplify our claims, we (...)
  15. added 2017-05-08
    Measurement in Science.Eran Tal - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  16. added 2017-03-27
    Visual Data – Reasons to Be Relied On?Nicola Mößner - 2017 - In Nicola Mößner & Alfred Nordmann (eds.), Reasoning in Measurement. New York: Routledge. pp. 99-110.
    In today’s science, the output of measurement processes are often visual representations of the data detected. Moreover, we find such visual data as parts of scientific reasoning in different contexts. In this article, we will take a look at two of them. On the one hand, visual representations are used as a kind of surrogate for the real object to ask questions about it – we will call this the exploratory use of visual data. On the other hand, visualisations are (...)
  17. added 2017-01-26
    Normal Measurement and Reasonable Agreement.T. S. Kuhn - 1982 - In Barry Barnes & David O. Edge (eds.), Science in Context: Readings in the Sociology of Science. MIT Press. pp. 75--93.
  18. added 2017-01-26
    The Measurement of Perceptual Durations.Robert Efron - 1972 - In J. T. Fraser, F. Haber & G. Muller (eds.), The Study of Time. Springer Verlag. pp. 207--218.
  19. added 2017-01-25
    Social Measurement: What Stands in its Way?Martin Bulmer - 2001 - Social Research 68.
    Measurement is any process by which a value is assigned to the level or state of some quality of an object of study. This value is given numerical form, and measurement therefore involves the expression of information in quantities rather than by verbal statement. It provides a powerful means of reducing qualitative data to more condensed form for summarization, manipulation and analysis. The classical distinctions made by S S S Stevens between nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio measurement are a common (...)
  20. added 2017-01-23
    Unique Nontransitive Measurement on Finite Sets.Peter C. Fishburn - 1990 - Theory and Decision 28 (1):21-46.
  21. added 2017-01-19
    Axiomatic Thermodynamics and Extensive Measurement.Fred S. Roberts & R. Duncan Luce - 1968 - Synthese 18 (4):311 - 326.
  22. added 2017-01-19
    Scaling Theory and the Nature of Measurement.William W. Rozeboom - 1966 - Synthese 16 (2):170 - 233.
  23. added 2017-01-17
    Measurement in Medicine: Philosophical Essays on Assessment and Evaluation.Leah McClimans (ed.) - 2017 - Rowman & Littlefield International.
    This volume introduces readers to the main philosophical issues of measurement in medicine, illustrating the connections between the natural and social sciences by integrating essays on causation, measuring instruments and issues of measurement and policy.
  24. added 2017-01-17
    Concepts and Measurement: Ontology and Epistemology.G. Goertz & J. Mahoney - 2012 - Social Science Information 51 (2):205-216.
  25. added 2017-01-17
    Measuring the Mind: Conceptual Issues in Contemporary Psychometrics.Denny Borsboom - 2005 - Cambridge University Press.
    Is it possible to measure psychological attributes like intelligence, personality and attitudes and if so, how does that work? What does the term 'measurement' mean in a psychological context? This fascinating and timely book discusses these questions and investigates the possible answers that can be given response. Denny Borsboom provides an in-depth treatment of the philosophical foundations of widely used measurement models in psychology. The theoretical status of classical test theory, latent variable theory and positioned in terms of the underlying (...)
  26. added 2017-01-17
    Measurement in Psychology: A Critical History of a Methodological Concept.Joel Michell - 1999 - Cambridge University Press.
    This book traces how such a seemingly immutable idea as measurement proved so malleable when it collided with the subject matter of psychology. It locates philosophical and social influences reshaping the concept and, at the core of this reshaping, identifies a fundamental problem: the issue of whether psychological attributes really are quantitative. It argues that the idea of measurement now endorsed within psychology actually subverts attempts to establish a genuinely quantitative science and it urges a new direction. It relates views (...)
  27. added 2017-01-17
    The Limits of Measurement and of Mathematization in the Social Sciences.Tadeusz Pawlowski - 1983 - der 16. Weltkongress Für Philosophie 2:1018-1025.
    The results achieved in the natural sciences due to their mathematisation encouraged many to apply mathematics also in disciplines traditionally regarded as unamenable to mathematical treatment. Various critics consider the use of measurement in such disciplines as unsound. They hold any sentenoe which states relations between sociological or humanistic quantities as only spuriously meaningful. Is this criticism justified? Under what conditions can measurement be fruitfully applied outside the domain of the exact sciences? What does it mean to measure something? These (...)
  28. added 2017-01-17
    A Note on Measurement.John Earman & A. Shimony - unknown
  29. added 2017-01-17
    Basic Concepts of Measurement.Brian Ellis - 1968 - Cambridge University Press.
    The nature of measurement is a topic of central concern in the philosophy of science and, indeed, measurement is the essential link between science and mathematics. Professor Ellis's book, originally published in 1966, is the first general exposition of the philosophical and logical principles involved in measurement since N. R. Campbell's Principles of Measurement and Calculation, and P. W. Bridgman's Dimensional Analysis. Professor Ellis writes from an empiricist standpoint. His object is to distinguish and define the basic concepts in measurement, (...)
  30. added 2017-01-17
    Essay Review: Measurement in Science: Quantification: A History of the Meaning of Measurement in the Natural and Social Sciences.Mary Hesse - 1963 - History of Science 2 (1):152-155.
  31. added 2017-01-16
    Psychological Measurement.Robyn M. Dawes - 1994 - Psychological Review 101 (2):278-281.
  32. added 2017-01-16
    An Exchange on Functional and Conjoint Measurement: Reply.David H. Krantz & Amos Tversky - 1971 - Psychological Review 78 (5):457-458.
  33. added 2017-01-16
    An Exchange on Functional and Conjoint Measurement: Reply.Norman H. Anderson - 1971 - Psychological Review 78 (5):458-458.
  34. added 2017-01-16
    Conjoint-Measurement Analysis of Composition Rules in Psychology.David H. Krantz & Amos Tversky - 1971 - Psychological Review 78 (2):151-169.
  35. added 2017-01-16
    The Beginning and Growth of Measurement in Psychology.Edwin G. Boring - 1961 - Isis 52 (2):238-257.
  36. added 2017-01-16
    Scientific Measurement and Psychology.D. McGregor - 1935 - Psychological Review 42 (3):246-266.
  37. added 2017-01-15
    Theory and Measurement. Kyburg Jr - 2009 - Cambridge University Press.
    Measurement is fundamental to all the sciences, the behavioural and social as well as the physical and in the latter its results provide our paradigms of 'objective fact'. But the basis and justification of measurement is not well understood and is often simply taken for granted. Henry Kyburg Jr proposes here an original, carefully worked out theory of the foundations of measurement, to show how quantities can be defined, why certain mathematical structures are appropriate to them and what meaning attaches (...)
  38. added 2017-01-14
    Measurement Accuracy Realism.Paul Teller - unknown
    This paper challenges “traditional measurement-accuracy realism”, according to which there are in nature quantities of which concrete systems have definite values. An accurate measurement outcome is one that is close to the value for the quantity measured. For a measurement of the temperature of some water to be accurate in this sense requires that there be this temperature. But there isn’t. Not because there are no quantities “out there in nature” but because the term ‘the temperature of this water’ fails (...)
  39. added 2016-12-12
    Modeling and Measurement: The Criterion of Empirical Grounding.Bas C. van Fraassen - 2012 - Philosophy of Science 79 (5):773-784.
  40. added 2016-12-08
    Physics and the Measurement of Continuous Variables.R. N. Sen - 2008 - Foundations of Physics 38 (4):301-316.
    This paper addresses the doubts voiced by Wigner about the physical relevance of the concept of geometrical points by exploiting some facts known to all but honored by none: Almost all real numbers are transcendental; the explicit representation of any one will require an infinite amount of physical resources. An instrument devised to measure a continuous real variable will need a continuum of internal states to achieve perfect resolution. Consequently, a laboratory instrument for measuring a continuous variable in a finite (...)
  41. added 2016-11-18
    ELLIS, Brian: "Basic Concepts of Measurement".J. E. Mcgechie - 1966 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 44:353.
  42. added 2016-11-10
    Theory in Psychology: A Reply to Tryon's Measurement Units and Theory Construction.A. Loker - 1999 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 20 (3):277-294.
    Tryon advises psychologists to construct theories as physicists do, and claims that a theory of physics is a system of algebraic relations which constitute the definitions of new concepts and their units of measurement in terms of existing ones, at least two basic units being initially adopted. He says that these algebraic relations create a knowledge hierarchy, which he considers a theory. In reality, only some of the mathematical relations of physics are definitions, which introduce new tools, while the rest (...)
  43. added 2016-11-09
    Topological Paradoxes of Time Measurement.Roy Lisker - unknown
    This paper applies the ideas presented in "Time, Euclidean Geometry and Relativity" ID 1290 , to a specific problem in temporal measurement. It is shown that, under very natural assumptions, that if there is a minimum time interval T in ones collection of clocks, it is impossible to measure an interval of time 1/2T save by the accidental construction of a clock which pulses in that interval. This situation is contrasted to that for length, in which either the Euclidean Algorithm (...)
  44. added 2016-10-09
    Over-Measurement.K. R. Sawyer, H. Sankey & R. Lombardo - 2016 - Measurement 93:379-384.
    Measurement is a special type of evaluation that is more exact than either opinion or estimation. In the social sciences, in particular, most evaluations are not measures, but rather mixtures of opinion and estimation. Over-measurement represents anchoring to evaluations which are not measures. For an over-measured characteristic, single measures are used when instead a portfolio of possible measures should be used. There are three implications. First, measurements of characteristics which depend on the over-measured characteristic are biased. Secondly, decisions which depend (...)
  45. added 2016-10-08
    Theoretical Explanation and Errors of Measurement.John Forge - 1990 - Erkenntnis 33 (3):371 - 390.
    By using the concept of a uniformity, the Structuralists have given us a most useful means of representing approximations. In the second section of this paper, I have made use of this technique to show how we can deal with errors of measurement — imprecise explananda — in the context of theoretical explanation. As well as (I hope) providing further demonstration of the power of the Structuralist approach, this also serves to support the ontic conception of explanation by showing that (...)
  46. added 2016-09-30
    An Introduction to Experimentation.Brian Joseph Brinkworth - 1968 - New York: American Elsevier Pub. Co..
  47. added 2016-08-12
    Reasoning in Measurement: History and Philosophy of Technoscience Volume 9.Nicola Mößner & Alfred Nordmann (eds.) - 2017 - New York: Routledge.
    This collection offers a new understanding of the epistemology of measurement. The interdisciplinary volume explores how measurements are produced, for example, in astronomy and seismology, in studies of human sexuality and ecology, in brain imaging and intelligence testing. It considers photography as a measurement technology and Henry David Thoreau's poetic measures as closing the gap between mind and world. -/- By focusing on measurements as the hard-won results of conceptual as well as technical operations the authors of the book no (...)
  48. added 2016-06-17
    Distance and Dissimilarity.Ben Blumson - forthcoming - Philosophical Papers:1-29.
    This paper considers whether an analogy between distance and dissimilarlity supports the thesis that degree of dissimilarity is distance in a metric space. A straightforward way to justify the thesis would be to define degree of dissimilarity as a function of number of properties in common and not in common. But, infamously, this approach has problems with infinity. An alternative approach would be to prove representation and uniqueness theorems, according to which if comparative dissimilarity meets certain qualitative conditions, then it (...)
  49. added 2016-01-08
    A Sense So Rare: Measuring Olfactory Experiences and Making a Case for a Process Perspective on Sensory Perception.Ann-Sophie Barwich - 2014 - Biological Theory 9 (3):258-268.
    Philosophical discussion about the reality of sensory perceptions has been hijacked by two tendencies. First, talk about perception has been largely centered on vision. Second, the realism question is traditionally approached by attaching objects or material structures to matching contents of sensory perceptions. These tendencies have resulted in an argumentative impasse between realists and anti-realists, discussing the reliability of means by which the supposed causal information transfer from object to perceiver takes place. Concerning the nature of sensory experiences and their (...)
  50. added 2015-12-09
    On the Input of a Measurement Process.Luca Mari & Alessandro Giordani - 2015 - Journal of Physics: Conference Series 588:1-6.
    It is assumed sometimes that the input of a measurement, and therefore the entity with which a measuring system interacts, is a quantity value, possibly the (true) measurand value, and from this hypothesis the model of ideal measurement as an identity process is formulated. In this paper we show that this position is based on an inappropriate superposition of quantities and quantity values, and therefore should be discarded.
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