David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Erkenntnis 57 (3):441 - 450 (2002)
Nancy Cartwright (1983, 1999) argues that (1) the fundamental laws of physics are true when and only when appropriate ceteris paribus modifiers are attached and that (2) ceteris paribus modifiers describe conditions that are almost never satisfied. She concludes that when the fundamental laws of physics are true, they don't apply in the real world, but only in highly idealized counterfactual situations. In this paper, we argue that (1) and (2) together with an assumption about contraposition entail the opposite conclusion — that the fundamental laws of physics do apply in the real world. Cartwright extracts from her thesis about the inapplicability of fundamental laws the conclusion that they cannot figure in covering-law explanations. We construct a different argument for a related conclusion — that forward-directed idealized dynamical laws cannot provide covering-law explanations that are causal. This argument is neutral on whether the assumption about contraposition is true. We then discuss Cartwright's simulacrum account of explanation, which seeks to describe how idealized laws can be explanatory.
|Keywords||Philosophy Philosophy Epistemology Ethics Logic Ontology|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
Robert W. Batterman & Collin C. Rice (2014). Minimal Model Explanations. Philosophy of Science 81 (3):349-376.
Alisa Bokulich (2011). How Scientific Models Can Explain. Synthese 180 (1):33 - 45.
Collin Rice (2012). Optimality Explanations: A Plea for an Alternative Approach. Biology and Philosophy 27 (5):685-703.
Robert Kowalenko (2009). How (Not) to Think About Idealisation and Ceteris Paribus -Laws. Synthese 167 (1):183 - 201.
Collin C. Rice (2016). Factive Scientific Understanding Without Accurate Representation. Biology and Philosophy 31 (1):81-102.
Similar books and articles
John Earman & John Roberts (1999). "Ceteris Paribus", There Is No Problem of Provisos. Synthese 118 (3):439 - 478.
Barry Ward (2009). Cartwright, Forces, and Ceteris Paribus Laws. Southwest Philosophy Review 25 (1):55-62.
Nancy Cartwright (1983). How the Laws of Physics Lie. Oxford University Press.
David Spurrett (2001). Cartwright on Laws and Composition. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 15 (3):253 – 268.
Renat Nugayev (1991). The Fundamental Laws of Physics Can Tell the Truth. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 5 (1):79 – 87.
Marc Lange (2002). Who's Afraid of Ceteris-Paribus Laws? Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Them. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 57 (3):281Ð301.
Dan Mcarthur (2006). Contra Cartwright: Structural Realism, Ontological Pluralism and Fundamentalism About Laws. Synthese 151 (2):233 - 255.
Nancy Cartwright (2002). In Favor of Laws That Are Not Ceteris Paribus After All. Erkenntnis 57 (3):425Ð439.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads125 ( #30,424 of 1,906,985 )
Recent downloads (6 months)6 ( #129,704 of 1,906,985 )
How can I increase my downloads?