II. SECTIONS OF DIVISION BSECTION 1Time: Tuesday, September 14, 9.30 A.M. Place: Standish Hall Common Room Subject: The Status and Relations of Sensa and Scientific Objects Chairmen: E. A. SINGER, JR., Pennsylvania M. T. MCCLURE, Illinois
EXPERIMENT AND METAPHYSICS EDGAR WIND
( North Carolina)
ITHERE is a paradox inherent in physical inquiry. The formulation of physical laws is based on measurements carried out within
the field of physics. But measurements carried out with physical
instruments are, themselves, subject to physical laws. It seems,
then, that the possibility of controlling the accuracy of experiments
presupposes the knowledge of those laws which the experiments intend to test, and the physicist's method of inference thus seems to
move in a circle. The laws which he discovers cannot claim to be
universal unless the measurement has been accurate. But the measurement cannot claim to be accurate unless it is based on the knowledge of universal laws.In order to decide whether this dilemma is fictitious or real we
must determine more precisely what the claim of accuracy involves.
For this purpose it is necessary to define the various elements of
which a measurement is composed. As far as we can see, there are
three such components to be distinguished:
|1. ||The presupposition of a system of axioms and theorems, defining the terms of measurement and exhibiting the ideal rules
which govern their composition (e.g., the Euclidean system of
|2. ||The choice of individual physical objects which represent the
terms of measurement in the factual world and thus serve as measuring instruments (e.g., the choice of measuring rods of some kind
of material which are understood to represent straight lines in the
sense of Euclid).|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Proceedings of the Sixth International Congress of Philosophy:"Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America, September 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 1926".
Contributors: Edgar Sheffield Brightman - Editor, International Congress of Philosophy - OrganizationName.
Publisher: Longmans, Green and Co..
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1927.
Page number: 217.
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