Calibrating The Theory of Model Mediated Measurement: Metrological Extension, Dimensional Analysis, and High Pressure Physics

European Journal for Philosophy of Science (forthcoming)
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Abstract

I argue that dimensional analysis provides an answer to a skeptical challenge to the theory of model mediated measurement. The problem arises when considering the task of calibrating a novel measurement procedure, with greater range, to the results of a prior measurement procedure. The skeptical worry is that the agreement of the novel and prior measurement procedures in their shared range may only be apparent due to the emergence of systematic error in the exclusive range of the novel measurement procedure. Alternatively: what if the two measurement procedures are not in fact measuring the same quantity? The theory of model mediated measurement can only say that we _assume_ that there is a common quantity. In contrast, I show that the satisfaction of dimensional homogeneity across the metrological extension is independent evidence for the so-called assumption. This is illustrated by the use of dimensional analysis in high pressure experiments. This results in an extension of the theory of model mediated measurement, in which a common quantity in metrological extension is no longer assumed, but hypothesized.

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Mahmoud Jalloh
St. John's College, Santa Fe

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