more from Nelson Goodman

Single Idea 17658

[catalogued under 14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 3. Instrumentalism]

Full Idea

To use a digital thermometer with readings in tenths of a degree is to recognise no temperature as lying between 90 and 90.1 degrees.

Gist of Idea

Users of digital thermometers recognise no temperatures in the gaps


Nelson Goodman (Ways of Worldmaking [1978], 1.4d)

Book Reference

Goodman,Nelson: 'Ways of Worldmaking' [Hackett 1984], p.15

A Reaction

This appears to be nonsense, treating users of digital thermometers as if they were stupid. No one thinks temperatures go up and down in quantum leaps. We all know there is a gap between instrument and world. (Very American, I'm thinking!)