Science Outside the Laboratory: Measurement in Field Science and Economics

ISBN : 9780199388288

Marcel Boumans
216 Pages
162 x 241 mm
Pub date
Jul 2015
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The conduct of most of social science occurs outside the laboratory. Such studies in field science explore phenomena that cannot for practical, technical, or ethical reasons be explored under controlled conditions. These phenomena cannot be fully isolated from their environment or investigated by manipulation or intervention. Yet measurement, including rigorous or clinical measurement, does provide analysts with a sound basis for discerning what occurs under field conditions, and why. Science Outside the Laboratory explores the state of measurement theory, its reliability, and the role expert judgment plays in field investigations from the perspective of the philosophy of science. Its discussion of the problems of passive observation, the calculus of observation, the two-model problem, and model-based consensus uses illustrations drawn primarily from economics. The treatment clarifies the extent to which measurement provides valid information about objects and events in field sciences, but also has implications for measurement in the laboratory.


Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Measurement
Chapter 3: Calculus of Observations
Chapter 4: The Problem of Passive Observation
Chapter 5: Clinical Judgement
Chapter 6: Consensus
Chapter 7: Conclusions

About the author: 

Marcel Boumans is historian and philosopher of science at the University of Amsterdam and Erasmus University Rotterdam. His main research focus is on understanding empirical research practices in economics from a philosophy of science-in-practice perspective. He is particularly interested in the practices of measurement and modeling and the role of mathematics in social science.

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