Rasch measurement gives systematic expression to the wider, metaphysical sense of mathematical thinking. The reason why Rasch measurement's actualization of the broader sense of mathematics is important is that "Modern natural science, modern mathematics, and modern metaphysics sprang from the same root of the mathematical in the wider sense" (Heidegger, 1967, p. 97). To the extent that metaphysics can "dig down to the bedrock of its mathematical base and ground" (Heidegger, 1967, p. 98) and explicate, formulate, project, and realize its own will, the project for a postmodern, non-metaphysical science will succeed. The reason why a postmodern science is needed is that modern science is blind to the wider implications of mathematical thinking, even though it was born of them. I contend that Rasch measurement, construed in a way that focuses on the construct and not on playing with numbers, opens the next chapter in the history of Dasein, that mode of being that exists as understanding.
Analytical philosophy focuses on logic, rationality, and method at the expense of intuition, imagination, and history. Phenomenology's motto is to return to the things themselves, in the ideal sense of that which persists no matter who perceives it, where it is perceived, or which exemplar of the thing is perceived. Though the term phenomenology has other connotations, it is most frequently used to refer to the work of Husserl, and his students, such as Heidegger, Gadamer, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, and Ricoeur. Where analytic philosophy places facts in a timeless, valueless void, phenomenology is inherently hermeneutic (interpretative) in recognizing that anything is recognized as something, that one's language, history, culture, socio-economic background, gender, etc. all play a part in making anything at all what it happens to be for you.
There are those who take phenomenological logic to a Heraclitean extreme. They say that communication is impossible because nothing stays the same long enough, or can be understood as the same from everyone's inherently different perspectives, for any two people to share it. We see this as "measurement error", and that these differences are exaggerated far beyond any effect they have in daily life (except when, of course, they aren't, but that's why we need to measure in the first place).
William P. Fisher, Jr.
Louisiana State University Medical Center
Gadamer, Hans-Georg (1989) Truth and Method. New York: Crossroad Publishing.
Heidegger, Martin (1967) What is a Thing? South Bend, Indiana: Regnery.
Metaphysical Rasch.Fisher W.P. Jr. Rasch Measurement Transactions, 1998, 12:3 p. 652.
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