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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Measurement and Scales in Aristotle


This paper aims to show that Aristotle’s treatise on measurement can be seen as the first text handed down to us in Western tradition in which a difference of scales is explicitly discussed. Aristotle divides all magnitudes we can measure into two kinds: magnitudes that require units indivisible in quantity and magnitudes that require units indivisible in quality for measurement. Barbara Sattler tries to show that this distinction can be best understood as a predecessor to our distinction between ratio scales and absolute scales.


Vol 10 Article 16