Synopses & Reviews
This book traces how such a seemingly immutable idea as measurement proved so debatable when it collided with the subject matter of psychology. This book addresses philosophical and social influences (such as scientism, practicalism, and Pythagoreanism) reshaping the concept of measurement and identifies a fundamental problem at the core of this reshaping: the issue of whether psychological attributes really are quantitative. The author argues that the idea of measurement now endorsed within psychology actually subverts attempts to establish a genuinely quantitative science, and he urges a new direction. This volume relates views on measurement by thinkers such as Hölder, Russell, Campbell, and Nagel to earlier views, like those of Euclid and Oresme. Within the history of psychology, it considers contributions by Fechner, Cattell, Thorndike, Stevens and Suppes, among others. It also contains a nontechnical exposition of conjoint measurement theory and recent foundational work by leading measurement theorist R. Duncan Luce. This thought-provoking book will be particularly valued by researchers in the fields of psychological history and philosophy of science.
"Any psychologist engaged in measuring psychological attributes should read this very readable, scholarly book." APA Review of Books
Traces history of measurement in social sciences/sciences to question whether psychological attributes are quantitative.
It is now widely believed that psychologists are able to measure many attributes once thought unmeasurable, such as intelligence, personality, and social attitudes. What is not widely known is that, in promoting such claims, psychologists have their own special definition of measurement, one that trivialises the conception relative to its meaning in the established physical sciences. By considering the history of psychology and related disciplines over the past 150 years, this book explains how this anamolous situation arose and concludes by urging a new direction for research in quantitative psychology.
Table of Contents
1. Trusting number, forsaking measure; 2. The mental measurement nexus; 3. The logic of quantification; 4. Safety in numbers; 5. Break-out from the classical paradigm; 6. Beyond measure; 7. Made to measure; 8. The revolution 'that never happened'.