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The conventionality of real valued quantities

Bennett, Marissa and Miller, Michael (2023) The conventionality of real valued quantities. In: UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

The representational theory of measurement provides a collection of results that specify the conditions under which an attribute admits of numerical representation. The original architects of the theory interpreted the formalism operationally and explicitly acknowledged that some aspects of their representations are conventional. There have been a number of recent efforts to reinterpret the formalism to arrive at a more metaphysically robust account of physical quantities. In this paper we argue that the conventional elements of the representations afforded by the representational theory of measurement require careful
scrutiny as one moves toward such an interpretation. To illustrate why, we show that there is a sense in which the very number system in which one represents a physical quantity such as mass or length is conventional. We argue that this result does not undermine the project of reinterpreting the representational theory of measurement for metaphysical purposes in general, but it does undermine a certain class of inferences about the nature of physical quantities that some have been tempted to draw.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Bennett, Marissamarissa.bennett@mail.utoronto.ca
Miller, Michaelmichael.earl.miller@gmail.com
Keywords: Quantities, Conventionality, Realism
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Operationalism/Instrumentalism
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Depositing User: Mr. Michael E. Miller
Date Deposited: 24 May 2023 12:23
Last Modified: 24 May 2023 12:23
Item ID: 22135
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Operationalism/Instrumentalism
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Theory/Observation
Date: 23 May 2023
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/22135

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