Measuring the non-existent: validity before measurement

Philosophy of Science 90 (2):227–244 (2023)
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Abstract

This paper examines the role existence plays in measurement validity. I argue that existing popular theories of measurement and of validity follow a correspondence framework, which starts by assuming that an entity exists in the real world with certain properties that allow it to be measurable. Drawing on literature from the sociology of measurement, I show that the correspondence framework faces several theoretical and practical challenges. I suggested the validity-first framework of measurement, which starts with a practice-based validation process as the basis for a measurement theory, and only posits objective existence when it is scientifically useful to do so.

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Kino Zhao
Simon Fraser University

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