Reasoning in Measurement: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Reasoning in Measurement

1st Edition

Edited by Nicola Mößner, Alfred Nordmann


262 pages

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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


Founding Figures

2 Of Compass, Chain, and Sounding Line: Taking Thoreau’s Measure

Laura Dassow Walls

3 Operationalism: Old Lessons and New Challenges

Hasok Chang


Images as Measurements

4 Photo Mensura

Patrick Maynard

5 The Media Aesthetics of Brain Imaging in Popular Science

Liv Hausken

6 Compressed Sensing – A New Mode of Measurement

Thomas Vogt

7 The Altered Image: Composite Figures and Evidential Reasoning with Mechanically Produced Images

Laura Perini

8 Visual Data – Reasons to be Relied on?

Nicola Mößner

9 Pictorial Evidence: On the Rightness of Pictures

Tobias Schöttler


Measuring the Immeasurable

10 Measurement in Medicine and Beyond: Quality of Life, Blood Pressure and Time

Leah McClimans

11 Measuring Intelligence Effectively: Psychometrics from a Philosophy of Technology Perspective

Andreas Kaminski

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

Godfrey Guillaumin

15 Measurements in the Engineering Sciences: An Epistemology of Producing Knowledge of Physical Phenomena

Mieke Boon

16 Uncertainty and Modeling in Seismology

Teru Miyake

17 A Model-Based Epistemology of Measurement

Eran Tal


About the Editors

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.

About the Series

History and Philosophy of Technoscience

Even though technoscientific research is as old as alchemy and pharmacy, agricultural research and synthetic chemistry, philosophers of science had little to say about it until recently. This book series is the first to explicitly accept the challenge to study not just technical aspects of theory development and hypothesis testing but the specific ways in which knowledge is produced in a technological setting. When one seeks to achieve basic capabilities of manipulation, visualization, or predictive control, how are problems defined and research fields established, what kinds of explanations are sought, how are findings validated, what are the contributions of different kinds of expertise, how do epistemic and social values enter into the research process? And most importantly for civic observers of contemporary research: how is robustness and reliability achieved even in the absence of complete scientific understanding?

Editorial Board: Hanne Andersen (University of Copenhagen), Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent (University of Paris, Sorbonne), Martin Carrier (University of Bielefeld), Graeme Gooday (University of Leeds), Don Howard (University of Notre Dame), Ann Johnson (Cornell University), Cyrus Mody (Maastricht University), Maureen O'Malley (University of Sydney), Roger Strand (University of Bergen), Nancy Tuana (Pennsylvania State University).

Direct inquiries to Alfred Nordmann [e-mail link: [email protected]] or Robert Langham [e-mail link: [email protected]].

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
PHILOSOPHY / Epistemology
SCIENCE / Weights & Measures
SCIENCE / Philosophy & Social Aspects