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Measuring the non-existent: validity before measurement

Zhao, Kino (2022) Measuring the non-existent: validity before measurement. [Preprint]

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Abstract

This paper examines the role existence claims play in measurement validity. First, I review existing popular theories of measurement and of validity, and argue that they all 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. According to this framework, to measure is to passively document the entity's properties, and to measure validly is for this documentation to be accurate. Second, drawing upon debates from within the testing community and the literature from the sociology of measurement, I argue that the correspondence framework faces both a theoretical challenge, where the assumption of the existence of the entity is rarely justifiable, and a practical challenge, where it does not match how measurement is done in many high stakes situations. Third, I suggest a validity-first framework of measurement, which reverses the justificatory order, as an alternative. I argue that we ought to start with a practice-based validation process, which serves as the basis for a measurement theory, and only posits objective existence when it is scientifically useful to do so.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Zhao, Kinokino_zhao@sfu.ca0000-0002-5252-6747
Keywords: measurement, scientific realism, validity, psychology, social science
Subjects: General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Psychology
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Kino Zhao
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2022 15:04
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2022 15:04
Item ID: 21443
Subjects: General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Specific Sciences > Psychology
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: November 2022
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21443

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