Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

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Zoom Talk: Sebastian Lutz (Uppsala) und Neil Dewar (MCMP)

Meeting-ID: 9443 3194 088

16.12.2020 16:00  – 18:00 

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Please note this event takes place 16:00-18:00 s.t.


Measurement and Quantities


Sebastian Lutz (Uppsala University): Making the Philosophy of Measurement Boring

I suggest that standardization of quantities is a pragmatically and vaguely distinguished special case of concept formation and that measurement is an inference from empirical results about a standardized quantity given some background assumptions (including laws of nature). The measurement debate is thus but a special case of the debates about concept formation and inference, and the logical empiricists' positions on these topics can be immediately applied to it. Their positions provide straightforward solutions to alleged problems of conventionalism in the philosophy of measurement, for instance the influence of empirical results on standardization, different methods of measuring the same quantity, improvements of measurements and standardizations, and the roles of theoretical assumptions and of models in standardization and measurement.

Neil Dewar (MCMP): On Absolute Units

How may we characterise the intrinsic structure of physical quantities such as mass, length, or electric charge? I show that group- theoretic methods—specifically, the notion of a free and transitive group action—provide an elegant way of characterising the structure of scalar quantities, and uses this to give an intrinsic treatment of vector quantities. It also gives a general account of how different scalar or vector quantities may be algebraically combined with one another. Finally, it uses this apparatus to give a simple intrinsic treatment of Newtonian gravitation.