•  1308
    Old and New Problems in Philosophy of Measurement
    Philosophy Compass 8 (12): 1159-1173. 2013.
    The philosophy of measurement studies the conceptual, ontological, epistemic, and technological conditions that make measurement possible and reliable. A new wave of philosophical scholarship has emerged in the last decade that emphasizes the material and historical dimensions of measurement and the relationships between measurement and theoretical modeling. This essay surveys these developments and contrasts them with earlier work on the semantics of quantity terms and the representational char…Read more
  •  182
    The Epistemology of Measurement: A Model-based Account
    Dissertation, University of Toronto. 2012.
    This work develops an epistemology of measurement, that is, an account of the conditions under which measurement and standardization methods produce knowledge as well as the nature, scope, and limits of this knowledge. I focus on three questions: (i) how is it possible to tell whether an instrument measures the quantity it is intended to? (ii) what do claims to measurement accuracy amount to, and how might such claims be justified? (iii) when is disagreement among instruments a sign of error, an…Read more
  •  144
    This paper draws attention to an increasingly common method of using computer simulations to establish evidential standards in physics. By simulating an actual detection procedure on a computer, physicists produce patterns of data (‘signatures’) that are expected to be observed if a sought-after phenomenon is present. Claims to detect the phenomenon are evaluated by comparing such simulated signatures with actual data. Here I provide a justification for this practice by showing how computer simu…Read more
  •  84
    Making Time: A Study in the Epistemology of Measurement
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (1). 2014.
    This article develops a model-based account of the standardization of physical measurement, taking the contemporary standardization of time as its central case-study. To standardize the measurement of a quantity, I argue, is to legislate the mode of application of a quantity-concept to a collection of exemplary artefacts. Legislation involves an iterative exchange between top-down adjustments to theoretical and statistical models regulating the application of a concept, and bottom-up adjustments…Read more
  •  81
    How Accurate Is the Standard Second?
    Philosophy of Science 78 (5): 1082-1096. 2011.
    Contrary to the claim that measurement standards are absolutely accurate by definition, I argue that unit definitions do not completely fix the referents of unit terms. Instead, idealized models play a crucial semantic role in coordinating the theoretical definition of a unit with its multiple concrete realizations. The accuracy of realizations is evaluated by comparing them to each other in light of their respective models. The epistemic credentials of this method are examined and illustrated t…Read more
  •  37
    Making Time: A Study in the Epistemology of Measurement
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (1): 297-335. 2016.
    This article develops a model-based account of the standardization of physical measurement, taking the contemporary standardization of time as its central case study. To standardize the measurement of a quantity, I argue, is to legislate the mode of application of a quantity concept to a collection of exemplary artefacts. Legislation involves an iterative exchange between top-down adjustments to theoretical and statistical models regulating the application of a concept, and bottom-up adjustments…Read more
  •  36
    Calibration: Modelling the measurement process
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 65 33-45. 2017.
  •  32
    Michael Weisberg * simulation and similarity: Using models to understand the world (review)
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (2): 469-473. 2015.
  •  27
    Individuating quantities
    Philosophical Studies 176 (4): 853-878. 2019.
    When discrepancies are discovered between the outcomes of different measurement procedures, two sorts of explanation are open to scientists. Either some of the outcomes are inaccurate or the procedures are not measuring the same quantity. I argue that, due to the possibility of systematic error, the choice between and is underdetermined in principle by any possible evidence. Consequently, foundationalist criteria of quantity individuation are either empty or circular. I propose a coherentist, mo…Read more
  •  20
    The making of measurement: Editors’ introduction
    with Daniel Jon Mitchell and Hasok Chang
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 65 1-7. 2017.