New Measurement

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An advantage to the conception of states of affairs as patterns of elements and relations is that the relations among elements that make something a pattern can be expressed mathematically. Causal Relatedness, Probability, Order and other notions that figure prominently in our approach and which we conceptualize in pattern language, can thus be defined formally. These in turn can be related to logical forms in other domains including those in which programmes of measurement are already highly formalized and highly tractable. This feature of Pragmatica is one of the avenues by which new types of measurement applicable to business, commerce, and innovation can be generated. 

Conditions for Measurement. Evaluations of experience involve distinctions and comparisons. Measurement is a way to express comparisons quantitatively – that is, by assigning numbers to them within frameworks that make the numbers meaningful. The relationalized phenomena of evaluation thereby become the ratios-among-numbers that constitute measurement.    

In ordinary experience the instinct to compare phenomena arises from a sensibility that doing so will provide information helpful for understanding a state of affairs and acting effectively to modify it. Our felt need to compare phenomena – our thinking this is a fruitful thing to do – occurs only when the phenomena are perceived as ‘distinct but also connected’. The perception of connectedness depends on the categories of which the phenomena are types. A rock and a shoe belong to categories the members of which can be ‘weighed’. Their comparison according to weight is a meaningful notion because they can be relationalized along that quantitative dimension. But while a shoe belongs to a category the members of which can be weighed, a noun does not – and thus we do not think to compare a shoe and a noun by measurement. The concept of 'measurement' occurs to us in the first case but not the second. Our conceptual frameworks countenance the one but not the other.        

New Measurement. One of the characteristics of advancement in science is the enlargement of our capabilities to compare phenomena. These evolutionary steps occur as we identify phenomena with denominators that were previously unknown and which our conceptual frameworks can be adjusted to embrace to strong advantage. When this happens our understanding of the environment improves and our efforts to modify it have greater efficacy.        

A fascinating feature of increasingly complex environments is their susceptibility to new types of measurement. The possibility of this arises because complexity is generated by increasing elements and relations. This produces, among other things, more heterogeneity and more connectedness. Viewed through the proper lens, these dynamics reveal structures and relationships not noticed or not deemed noteworthy before, but which are now discernible because the environment has, as it were, intensified them. The next step - producing measurement techniques gauged to relate phenomena traditionally viewed as incommensurable - requires an ontological foundation. Pragmatica offers this.       

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