Emiliano Trizio
University of the West of England
This paper deals with calibration in scientific practices which investigate relatively well-understood natural phenomena by means of already standardized instrumental devices. Calibration is a crucial topic, since it conditions the reliability of instrumental procedures in science. Yet although important, calibration is a relatively neglected topic. We think more attention should be devoted to calibration. The paper attempts to take a step in this direction. The aims are two-fold: (1) to characterize calibration in a relatively simple kind of scientific practices; (2) to provide conceptual and taxonomic tools of broader scope that help to get a better understanding of calibration in more complex cases and other kinds of scientific practices. For this purpose, we first provide indications for why a conceptual framework is needed. Second, a bibliographic survey of works dealing with calibration is attempted. Third, we introduce different tools to enable a better understanding of calibration. Fourth, we turn to the elaboration of what we call a “simple exemplar” of calibration, illustrated through the case of the calibration of an equal-arm balance. Fifth, the tools previously introduced, and the framework of the simple exemplar, are applied to a more complex case of calibration: calibration procedures in X-ray experiments. This serves to show the work accomplished by the simple exemplar and to emphasize features of more complex cases of calibration. Eventually, we revisit and specify the nature, status, scope and value of the proposed framework
Keywords Calibration  Standard  Measurement  Scientific instruments  Measuring device  Scientific practices
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DOI 10.1007/s10838-013-9231-7
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References found in this work BETA

Data and Phenomena.Jim Woodward - 1989 - Synthese 79 (3):393 - 472.
The Neglect of Experiment.Steven French - 1990 - Noûs 24 (4):631-634.
Experiment, Right or Wrong.Allan Franklin - 1990 - Cambridge University Press.
How Accurate Is the Standard Second?Eran Tal - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1082-1096.

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Citations of this work BETA

Making Time: A Study in the Epistemology of Measurement.Eran Tal - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (1):297-335.
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The Complementarity of Psychometrics and the Representational Theory of Measurement.Elina Vessonen - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2):415-442.
The Fifth Chemical Revolution: 1973–1999.José Chamizo - 2017 - Foundations of Chemistry 19 (2):157-179.

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