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Matter MattersMetaphysics and Methodology in the Early Modern Period$
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Kurt Smith

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199583652

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583652.001.0001

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Enumeration, Quantity, and Measurement

Enumeration, Quantity, and Measurement

(p.113) 7 Enumeration, Quantity, and Measurement
Matter Matters

Kurt Smith (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows how Descartes's concept of the enumeration underwrites the concepts of quantity and measurement in physics. Here it is shown how Descartes established what the chapter calls the master enumeration. Modes of body, it is found, are understood within Descartes's system as classes of ‘dimensions’ which are determined by systems of measurement. These systems are what today are called ratio scales. It is shown how the enumeration, the paradigm of a nominal scale, underwrites the ratio scale.

Keywords:   master enumeration, quantity, measurement, dimensions, corporeal modes, nominal scale, ordinal scale, interval scale, ratio scale

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