Measurement at the Crossroads

Affiche Measurement at the Crossroads



Measurement at the Crossroads is the third interdisciplinary conference to explore the history and philosophy of measurement after Dimensions of Measurement in Bielefeld (2013) and The Making of Measurement in Cambridge (2015).  The conference will bring together historians, philosophers and sociologists of science to address questions related to measurement across disciplines ranging from the natural sciences to the life and human sciences.

The recent revival of the philosophy of measurement in the early 2000s appears to be instrumental in overcoming the tensions that obstructed science studies during much of the second half of the twentieth century. The Paris conference aspires to promote the new ways of addressing issues of quantification and measurement that are now emerging and promising to bridge the various gulfs – theoretical versus practical, descriptive versus normative – that have divided the philosophical, historical and sociological approaches to science. It is now recognized that questions of quantification transcend the earlier focus on meaning and representation which formerly attracted the attention of philosophers of science, and that these questions benefit from investigation alongside the means and processes that enable scientists, and human agents in general, to agree on their measurement results and make them reliable bases for decision and action. The resulting shift of attention towards the uses of measurement results in inference and prediction places the new agenda of philosophy of measurement at the crossroads of conceptual, epistemic, historical, material, technological and institutional issues.

The 2018 conference comes at a time when the field of metrology is about to reach an important turning point with the reform of the International System of Units (SI) that is to be announced by the end of 2018. With Measurement at the Crossroads we aspire to connect the discussions developing in the emerging field of history and philosophy of measurement with some of the issues arising from this major reshaping of the field of metrology. Special attention will thus be given to issues pertaining to the formation of systems of units and standards, as well as to related institutional matters. The conference will build upon the two former ones by inscribing these issues more explicitly in a world-wide and a long-term perspective. In addition to the enquiries related to the contemporary SI reform, time will therefore be allotted for studies concerned with how measurement units have been worked out in the past, from Antiquity to today’s reform, in different regions of the world. This will offer a cultural-anthropological outlook on metrology.


The main language of the conference is English.



Nadine de Courtenay (University Paris Diderot, France)
Fabien Grégis (Tel Aviv University, Israel & SPHERE, France)
Christine Proust (CNRS & University Paris Diderot, SPHERE, France)




The fees for the conference and dinner will be as follows.


  • Researchers: EUR 50
  • Students (masters, PhD): EUR 20

Conference dinner

  • Researchers : EUR 40
  • Students : EUR 20


Dates and deadlines

Registration is now closed.
Conference: June 27-29, 2018.

The conference will start on June 27, 8:30 with a welcoming coffee. It will end up on June 29, 13:00.
The dinner will be held on Thursday, June 28.
A cocktail will be offered at the end of the first day.




Logo SPHERE         Logo_P7.svg.png              CNRS         Logo_Sorbonne.png                    

Laboratoire MPQ     Département HPS        Institut Humanités, Sciences & Société              ENSA Paris-Val de Seine

LNE         First TF             Université de Genève


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