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Norms and facts in measurement

By J. van Brakel


Publications concerned with the foundations of measurement often accept uncritically the theory/observation and the norm/fact distinction. However, measurement is measurement-in-a-context. This is analysed in the first part of the paper. Important aspects of this context are: the purpose of the particular measurement; everything we know; everything we can do; and the empirical world. Dichotomies, such as definition versus empirical law, are by themselves not very useful because the ‘rules of measurement’ are facts of norms depending on the context chosen or considered. In the second part of the paper, three methodological premises for a theory of measurement are advocated: reduce arbitrariness, against fundamentalism, and do not be afraid of realism

Topics: Natuur- en Sterrenkunde
Year: 1984
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