Partenaires

logo Sphere
CNRS
Logo Université Paris-Diderot Logo Université Paris1-Panthéon-Sorbonne


Rechercher

Sur ce site

Sur le Web du CNRS


Accueil du site > Axes de recherche > Interdisciplinarité en histoire et philosophie des sciences > 6 Historical, philosophical and anthropological approaches to numbers, measurement and measurability

Axis Interdisciplinarity in history and philosophy of science

6 Historical, philosophical and anthropological approaches to numbers, measurement and measurability


Thematics of research / Members / 2018–2022


The themes around numbers and measurement have been worked on since at least 2001 in the REHSEIS laboratory, then SPHERE, notably within the axes "history and philosophy of mathematics" and "history and philosophy of physics". Problems of an ethical or philosophical nature related to measurability in the human and social sciences or in medicine have been addressed in the other areas of SPHERE. In the course of this research, broader issues emerged which seemed to us to deserve to be approached from an interdisciplinary angle. We propose to open the following tracks, or to pursue them in an interdisciplinary way :

  • Numbers and units of measure : have these two types of entities always been considered separately ? When this was the case, how were the relationships between numbers and units of measurement thought in the past, and how are they today ?
  • Number writing and operations : what interactions ? Some forms of writing numbers are used to record numerical values, others to operate on them. How is this opposition practiced ? Does the writing of numbers serve other functions ? When the writing of numbers is support to operations, in what ways were the writing or the writing of the numbers shaped in relation to the operations that were executed by relying on them ?
  • Metrology questions : by which processes have units of measurement, measurement scales, and standards been defined in history ? How do the units, scales and standards produced reflect actual measurement operations ? What role did some institutions play in defining units of measurement ?
  • How do measurement practices shape the design, writing or manipulation of quantities (discretization ...) ? How does the mechanization of calculation modify practices and forms of approximation ?
  • The notion of measurement in its conceptual aspects : what are the conditions of measurability ? What does it mean to measure in the human and social sciences, what can be measured ?
  • What forms of quantification are involved in measuring a phenomenon (social, economic, bodily, etc.) ? What is a scale, such as a ’scale of pain’, a measure and how does she do it, for whom ? Can quality of life be measured and, if so, how ? Are there non-quantitative forms of evaluation ? Is an indicator a measure ?

The work will initially be organized during an exploratory seminar on some of these questions, chosen among the most unifying, for example, the scales of measurement and the stallions. The goal is to build projects that can bring together researchers working on different disciplines, times, regions of the world and types of documents or approaches. In the short term, the group will join in the events of 2018 around the revision of the International System by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM). Concretely, the group is preparing a symposium in 2018 in connection with the events prepared by the BIPM.

Call for contributions to a special issue to be submitted to the Historia Mathematica journal : “Concrete numbers” versus “abstract numbers” : an anthropological, historical, historiographical and didactical approach.
PDF - 318.6 ko

Edited by Christine Proust & Eric Vandendriessche (Laboratory SPHERE, CNRS & University Paris-Diderot). Proposals should be sent to the editors before January 31, 2018.



Members / Thematics /

Organizers
DE COURTENAY Nadine
PROUST Christine
Researchers - PhDs Students - Post-PhDs
BRETELLE-ESTABLET Florence
BULLYNCK Maarten
CHAIGNEAU Pierre
CHEMLA Karine
DELON Patrice
DE VARENT Charlotte
DURAND-RICHARD Marie-José
GAILLE Marie
GREGIS Fabien
KELLER Agathe
LEJEUNE Edgar
LEPLEGE Alain
MORGAN Daniel Patrick
MORICE-SINGH Catherine
RABOUIN David
UZAN Pierre
VANDENDRIESSCHE Eric