The Reform of the International System of Units (SI): Philosophical, Historical and Sociological Issues, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Reform of the International System of Units (SI)

Philosophical, Historical and Sociological Issues, 1st Edition

Edited by Nadine de Courtenay, Olivier Darrigol, Oliver Schlaudt


212 pages

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pub: 2019-01-22
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Systems of units still fail to attract the philosophical attention they deserve, but this could change with the current reform of the International System of Units (SI). Most of the SI base units will henceforth be based on certain laws of nature and a choice of fundamental constants whose values will be frozen. The theoretical, experimental and institutional work required to implement the reform highlights the entanglement of scientific, technological and social features in scientific enterprise, while it also invites a philosophical inquiry that promises to overcome the tensions that have long obstructed science studies.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. The origins of the Metre Convention, the SI and the development of modern metrology; 3. Justifying and motivating an SI for all people for all time; 4. Reforming the International System of Units: On our way to redefine the base units solely from fundamental constants and beyond; 5. Strategies for the definition of a system of units; 6. Relations between units and relations between quantities; 7. On the Conceptual Nature of the Physical Constants; 8. And how experiments Begin: The International Prototype Kilogram and the Planck Constant; 9. The SI and the Problem of Spatiotemporal Constancy

About the Editors

Nadine de Courtenay is Associate Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the Paris Diderot University & Laboratoire SPHERE, France.

Olivier Darrigol is Research Director at CNRS & Laboratoire SPHERE, France.

Oliver Schlaudt is Associate Professor of Philosophy of Science at Heidelberg University, Germany.

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
SCIENCE / Philosophy & Social Aspects