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Title: The evaluation of measurement uncertainties and its epistemological ramifications
Authors: De Courtenay, Nadine
Grégis, Fabien
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Elsevier
Bibliographic citation: De Courtenay Nadine, Grégis Fabien (2017), The evaluation of measurement uncertainties and its epistemological ramifications. In: Studies in history and philosophy of science Part A, vol. 65-66, October-December 2017, p. 21-32. ISSN 0039-3681. E-ISSN 1879-2510. DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2017.05.003.
Abstract: The way metrologists conceive of measurement has undergone a major shift in the last two decades. This shift can in great part be traced to a change in the statistical methods used to deal with the expression of measurement results, and, more particularly, with the calculation of measurement uncertainties. Indeed, as we show, the incapacity of the frequentist approach to the calculus of uncertainty to deal with systematic errors has prompted the replacement of the customary frequentist methods by fully Bayesian procedures. The epistemological ramifications of the Bayesian approach merge with a deep empiricist mood tantamount to an "epistemic turn": measurement results are analysed in terms of degrees of belief, and central concepts such as error and accuracy are called into question. We challenge the perspective entailed by this epistemic turn: we insist on the centrality of the concepts of error and accuracy by underlining the intentional character of measurement that is intimately linked to the process of correction of experimental data. We further circumvent the difficulties posed by the classical analysis of measurement by stressing the social rather than the epistemic dimension of measurement activities.
Journal/Book: Studies in history and philosophy of science Part A
ISSN: 0039-3681
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