Theory is measurement

Back in the 1940s and 1950s, the Cowles Commission used to keep its motto as “Science is Measurement.” More recently, however, its motto changed to “Theory and Measurement.” And last year, I read one article from their website, entitled “Theory without Measurement.”

A friend of mine has just written a blog post about quantifying the empirical world and identifying specific quantities of interest. My view, after my short start on research life, is that “Theory is measurement.” Name a thought experiment (or in a more worldly language, theory) that does not involve any empirical evaluation, and I will tell you why even theory is no more than statement of measurement(s). Even commonly debated philosophical concepts, such as causality, are in a sense, measurements. I don’t have time to present examples on this tonight, but I will do at some later point.

To me, research life is anything but a neutral and objective track. People keep saying that we should draw a line between life and work, but the real difficulty is to draw the line between life and thought, which I cannot. I take my side in life, as I do in thoughts, although not necessarily arguing for them all the time. I know from very young age that I will lend myself to the world of endless exploration, in which enjoyment arises as well as sorrows. As such, my life does not sound very desirable, but I like it.

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