Psychophysics, intensive magnitudes, and the psychometricians' fallacy

As an aspiring science in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, psychology pursued quantification. A problem was that degrees of psychological attributes were experienced only as greater than, less than, or equal to one another. They were categorised as intensive magnitudes. The meaning of this concept was shifting, from that of an attribute possessing underlying quantitative structure to that of a merely ordinal attribute . This fluidity allowed psychologists to claim that their attributes were intensive magnitudes and measurable . This claim was supported by an argument that order entails quantity. As adapted by psychometricians, the argument was that if an attribute is ordered, then the differences between its degrees are quantitative and, therefore, measurable. However, in a paper ignored in psychology for six decades, the issue was resolved mathematically and the resolution implies that the psychometricians’ argument was fallacious
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2006.06.011
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 30,780
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Critique of Pure Reason.I. Kant - 1787/1998 - Philosophy 59 (230):555-557.
Basic Measurement Theory.Patrick Suppes & Joseph Zinnes - 1963 - In D. Luce (ed.), Journal of Symbolic Logic. John Wiley & Sons.. pp. 1--1.
The Role of Magnitude in Kant's Critical Philosophy.Daniel Sutherland - 2004 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (3):411 - 441.

View all 16 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
What is Psychophysics?Lawrence A. Shapiro - 1994 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:47 - 57.
Testing Significance Testing: A Flawed Defense.John E. Hunter - 1998 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (2):204-204.
Linguistic Approach to Psychophysics.J. N. Findlay - 1949 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 50:43-64.
When is a Fallacy Not a Fallacy?Joel Marks - 1988 - Metaphilosophy 19 (3‐4):307-312.
Phenomenologists and Analytics: A Question of Psychophysics?Liliana Albertazzi - 2002 - Southern Journal of Philosophy (Suppl.) 40 (S1):27-48.
Quantities, Magnitudes, and Numbers.Henry E. Kyburg Jr - 1997 - Philosophy of Science 64 (3):377-410.
The Naturalistic Fallacy.Julia Tanner - 2006 - Richmond Journal of Philosophy 13.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
49 ( #117,416 of 2,214,618 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #134,080 of 2,214,618 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature