Reflexive Measurement


This essay offers a unified philosophical account of observer effects in social science. When agents are aware their behavior is subject to scientific inquiry they often act in ways that render measurements of them unreliable. This is the problem of reflexive measurement. In order to develop this novel account, I provide a general characterization of reflexivity which encompasses the full scope of scientific practice: theorizing, prediction, measurement, etc. The characterization captures the insights of contemporary philosophers of science working on reflexive prediction alongside observations by scientists grappling with observer-type effects in the course of their research.



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James Michelson
Carnegie Mellon University

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References found in this work

Essays in Positive Economics.Milton Friedman - 1953 - University of Chicago Press.
The Poverty of Historicism.Karl R. Popper - 1957 - London,: Routledge.
The Poverty of Historicism.Karl R. Popper - 1957 - Philosophy 35 (135):357-358.
Data and phenomena.James Woodward - 1989 - Synthese 79 (3):393 - 472.

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