Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

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Zoom Talk: Eran Tal (McGill)

Meeting-ID: 950 1039 5841

25.01.2023 at 16:00 

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Who Needs Magnitudes?


Until the mid-twentieth century, magnitude was a central concept in theories of measurement, including those of Kant, Helmholtz, Hölder, Russell, and Campbell. In the 1950s, the concept of magnitude began to fade from discussions on the foundations of measurement. For example, it plays virtually no role in the Representational Theory of Measurement (RTM). This paper argues that the concept of magnitude, understood as a location in the linear order of quantity tokens of the same type, is an important component of any satisfactory theory of measurement. I illustrate this claim by using the concept of magnitude to resolve two ongoing debates concerning the foundations of measurement: (i) the debate concerning the nature of measurement units; and (ii) the debate concerning the scope and limits of RTM.