Measurement is a process aimed at acquiring and codifying information about properties of empirical entities. In this paper we provide an interpretation of such a process comparing it with what is nowadays considered the standard measurement theory, i.e., representational theory of measurement. It is maintained here that this theory has its own merits but it is incomplete and too abstract, its main weakness being the scant attention reserved to the empirical side of measurement, i.e., to measurement systems and to the (...) ways in which the interactions of such systems with the entities under measurement provide a structure to an empirical domain. In particular it is claimed that (1) it is on the ground of the interaction with a measurement system that a partition can be induced on the domain of entities under measurement and that relations among such entities can be established, and that (2) it is the usage of measurement systems that guarantees a degree of objectivity and intersubjectivity to measurement results. As modeled in this paper, measurement systems link the abstract theory of measuring, as developed in representational terms, and the practice of measuring, as coded in standard documents such as the International Vocabulary of Metrology. (shrink)
The common account of the analog vs digital distinction is based on features of physical systems, being related to the usage of continuous vs discrete supports respectively. It is proposed here to alternatively characterize the concepts of analog and digital as related to coding systems, of which a formal definition is given, by suggesting that the distinction refers to the strategy adopted to define the coding function: extensional in digital systems, isomorphic intensional in analog systems. This thesis is supported by (...) examples, in particular of analog systems exploiting discrete supports, and is discussed to explain why digital coding is currently so widespread in technological and social practice. (shrink)
We offer an analysis of future morphemes as epistemic operators. The main empirical motivation comes from the fact that future morphemes have systematic purely epistemic readings—not only in Greek and Italian, but also in Dutch, German, and English will. The existence of epistemic readings suggests that the future expressions quantify over epistemic, not metaphysical alternatives. We provide a unified analysis for epistemic and predictive readings as epistemic necessity, and the shift between the two is determined compositionally by the lower tense. (...) Our account thus acknowledges a systematic interaction between modality and tense—but the future itself is a pure modal, not a mixed temporal/modal operator. We show that the modal base of the future is nonveridical, i.e. it includes p and ¬p worlds, parallel to epistemic modals such as must, and present arguments that future morphemes are a category that stands in between epistemic modals and predicates of personal taste. We identify, finally, a subclass of epistemic futures which are ratificational, and argue that will is a member of this class. (shrink)
The paper introduces and formally defines a functional concept of a measuring system, on this basis characterizing the measurement as an evaluation performed by means of a calibrated measuring system. The distinction between exact and uncertain measurement is formalized in terms of the properties of the traceability chain joining the measuring system to the primary standard. The consequence is drawn that uncertain measurements lose the property of relation-preservation, on which the very concept of measurement is founded according to the representational (...) viewpoint. Finally, from the analysis of the inter-relations between calibration and measurement the fundamental reasons of the claimed objectivity and intersubjectivity of measurement are highlighted, a valuable epistemological result to characterize measurement as a particular kind of evaluation. (shrink)
This paper discusses a relational modeling of measurement which is complementary to the standard representational point of view: by focusing on the experimental character of the measurand-related comparison between objects, this modeling emphasizes the role of the measuring systems as the devices which operatively perform such a comparison. The non-idealities of the operation are formalized in terms of non-transitivity of the substitutability relation between measured objects, due to the uncertainty on the measurand value remaining after the measurement. The metrological structure (...) of traceability is shown to be an effective solution to cope with the problem of the general non-transitivity of measurement results. A preliminary theory is introduced as a possible formalization for the presented model. (shrink)
Measurement in soft systems generally cannot exploit physical sensors as data acquisition devices. The emphasis in this case is instead on how to choose the appropriate indicators and to combine their values so to obtain an overall result, interpreted as the value of a property, i.e., the measurand, for the system under analysis. This paper aims at discussing the epistemological conditions of the claim that such a process is a measurement, and performance evaluation is the case introduced to support the (...) analysis, performed in systematic comparison with the paradigm of measurement of physical quantities. Some background questions arising here are: – Are the chosen indicators appropriate performance indicators? – Do such indicators convey complete and non-redundant information on performance? – Does the chosen combination rule generate results suitably interpretable as performance values? And enlarging the focus: – Does the obtained value specifically convey information on the system under analysis, instead of some different entity (typically including the subject who is evaluating)? Operatively: would different subjects evaluate the same system in the same way? i.e., is the obtained information objective? – Does the obtained value convey information that is interpretable in the same way by different subjects? Operatively: would different subjects who have agreed on a decision procedure make the same decision from the same performance information? i.e., is the obtained information intersubjective? Any well founded positive answers to these questions significantly support a structural interpretation of measurement encompassing both physical and soft measurement. (shrink)
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.
An appropriate characterization of property types is an important topic for measurement science. This paper proposes to derive them from evaluation types, and analyzes the consequences of this position for the VIM3.
In this entry to David Hume scholarship, Jacqueline Taylor brings together a line of interpretation she has been developing over several years, connecting Hume's theory of the passions to what she calls Hume's "social theory." Through a concise, well-organized argument, the book offers insights into how one of the Enlightenment's most famous and gifted thinkers conceptualized social roles and institutions, the ways we navigate these roles and institutions, and how all this connects to the kind of creature we are. (...) It is a rewarding read for anyone interested in Hume's moral project.The book begins with a lively, historicized defense of Hume's "experimental" method against readers who have thought his approach fails... (shrink)
Although the title Dreamstreets and the use of the word utopias in the subtitle strongly suggest a focus on the utopian, there are only a few references to utopia in the book, which is about the author’s responses to some of the model villages established in Britain in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The author says that there were about four hundred such villages, and she has visited many I have not visited and know little about; she is particularly (...) good on some of the less well-known model towns. While the table of contents suggests that she visited ten of them, she discusses quite a few more, all of which she has visited.I found the discussion of New Lanark (which is one of those not in the table... (shrink)