When we evaluate the outcomes of investigative actions as justified or unjustified, good or bad, rational or irrational, we make, in a broad sense of the term, evaluative judgements about them. We look at operational accuracy as a desirable and evaluable quality of the outcomes and explore how the concepts of accuracy and precision, on the basis of insights borrowed from pragmatics and measurement theory, can be seen to do useful work in epistemology. Operational accuracy (but not metaphysical accuracy!) focuses on how a statement fits an explicit or implicit standard set by participants involved in a shared project. While truth can remain a thin semantic property of propositions, operational accuracy, as a quality of an outcome of inquiry and typically attached to a statement, a model, a diagram or a representation is an evaluation based on the the non-epistemic goals set by the goal of inquiry (which every inquiry has), and a substantial evaluative notion. The goals, often made explicit by relevant questions in a context of inquiry, act as a filter, with truths a reliable epistemic method has access to functioning as the input, and accurate representations as its output. Responsible inquiry seeks pragmatic equilibrium between what reliable knowledge on the one hand and degrees of accuracy required by the goal of inquiry.
|Title of host publication||Experts and Consensus in Social Science|
|Editors||Carlo Martini, Marcel Boumans|
|Place of Publication||Berlin |
|Number of pages||18|
|Publication status||Published - 8 Aug 2014|
|Name||Ethical Economy, Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosophy|
- Bas van Fraassen