This collection offers a new understanding of the epistemology of measurement. The interdisciplinary volume explores how measurements are produced, for example, in astronomy and seismology, in studies of human sexuality and ecology, in brain imaging and intelligence testing. It considers photography as a measurement technology and Henry David Thoreau's poetic measures as closing the gap between mind and world.
By focusing on measurements as the hard-won results of conceptual as well as technical operations, the authors of the book no longer presuppose that measurement is always and exclusively a means of representing some feature of a target object or entity. Measurement also provides knowledge about the degree to which things have been standardized or harmonized – it is an indicator of how closely human practices are attuned to each other and the world.
Table of Contents
1 Epistemological Dimensions of Measurement
Nicola Mößner and Alfred Nordmann
2 Of Compass, Chain, and Sounding Line: Taking Thoreau’s Measure
Laura Dassow Walls
3 Operationalism: Old Lessons and New Challenges
Images as Measurements
4 Photo Mensura
5 The Media Aesthetics of Brain Imaging in Popular Science
6 Compressed Sensing – A New Mode of Measurement
7 The Altered Image: Composite Figures and Evidential Reasoning with Mechanically Produced Images
8 Visual Data – Reasons to be Relied on?
9 Pictorial Evidence: On the Rightness of Pictures
Measuring the Immeasurable
10 Measurement in Medicine and Beyond: Quality of Life, Blood Pressure and Time
11 Measuring Intelligence Effectively: Psychometrics from a Philosophy of Technology Perspective
12 The Klein Sexual Orientation Grid and the Measurement of Human Sexuality
Donna J. Drucker
13 The Desert and the Dendrograph: Place, Community and Ecological Instrumentation
Emily K. Brock
Calibrating Mind and World
14 Scientific Measurement as Cognitive Integration: The Role of Cognitive Integration in the Growth of Scientific Knowledge
15 Measurements in the Engineering Sciences: An Epistemology of Producing Knowledge of Physical Phenomena
16 Uncertainty and Modeling in Seismology
17 A Model-Based Epistemology of Measurement
Nicola Mößner, Junior Fellow at Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg Greifswald in Germany. She received her M.A. in German Literature and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and her PhD in Philosophy at the University of Münster. Her thesis is about the epistemology of testimony and the special case of media reports, published as Wissen aus dem Zeugnis anderer – der Sonderfall medialer Berichterstattung (Paderborn: mentis 2010). Currently she works on a research project concerning the epistemic role of visualisations in science. In this context, she edited (together with Dimitri Liebsch) Visualisierung und Erkenntnis – Bildverstehen und Bildverwenden in Natur- und Geisteswissenschaften (Cologne: Herbert von Halem 2012). Her main interests comprise philosophy of science and social epistemology.
Alfred Nordmann, professor of Philosophy at the Technische Universität Darmstadt and adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. Nordmann’s interests in the philosophy of science concern the formation and contestation of fields of inquiry such as chemistry and theories of electricity in the 18th century, mechanics, evolutionary biology, and sociology in the 19th century. In particular, he sought to articulate implicit concepts of science and objectivity. In 2000, he embarked on a similar endeavor in regard to nanoscience and converging technologies which has led him to promote and develop a comprehensive philosophy of technoscience. Since the technosciences require new answers to the familiar questions of knowledge and objectivity, theory and evidence, explanation and validation, representation and experimentation, Nordmann is seeking to address these and related questions in his current work.