Ceteris paribus lost

Erkenntnis 57 (3):281-301 (2002)
Many have claimed that ceteris paribus (CP) laws are a quite legitimate feature of scientific theories, some even going so far as to claim that laws of all scientific theories currently on offer are merely CP. We argue here that one of the common props of such a thesis, that there are numerous examples of CP laws in physics, is false. Moreover, besides the absence of genuine examples from physics, we suggest that otherwise unproblematic claims are rendered untestable by the mere addition of the CP operator. Thus, “CP all Fs are Gs” when read as a straightforward statement of fact, cannot be the stuff of scientific theory. Rather, we suggest that when ``ceteris paribus'' appears in scientific works it plays a pragmatic role of pointing to more respectable claims.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Ethics   Logic   Ontology
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 14,009
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Jesse R. Steinberg (2010). Dispositions and Subjunctives. Philosophical Studies 148 (3):323 - 341.
Richard Corry (2011). Can Dispositional Essences Ground the Laws of Nature? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (2):263 - 275.
Robert Kowalenko (2011). The Epistemology of Hedged Laws. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42 (3):445-452.

View all 16 citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

157 ( #7,698 of 1,696,619 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

37 ( #8,952 of 1,696,619 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.