Graduate studies at Western
Erkenntnis 57 (3):441 - 450 (2002)
|Abstract||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||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
John Earman & John Roberts (1999). "Ceteris Paribus", There Is No Problem of Provisos. Synthese 118 (3):439 - 478.
Nancy Cartwright (2002). In Favor of Laws That Are Not Ceteris Paribus After All. Erkenntnis 57 (3):425Ð439.
Dan Mcarthur (2006). Contra Cartwright: Structural Realism, Ontological Pluralism and Fundamentalism About Laws. Synthese 151 (2):233 - 255.
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.
Renat Nugayev (1991). The Fundamental Laws of Physics Can Tell the Truth. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 5 (1):79 – 87.
David Spurrett (2001). Cartwright on Laws and Composition. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 15 (3):253 – 268.
Nancy Cartwright (1983). How the Laws of Physics Lie. Oxford University Press.
Barry Ward (2009). Cartwright, Forces, and Ceteris Paribus Laws. Southwest Philosophy Review 25 (1):55-62.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads89 ( #9,885 of 739,318 )
Recent downloads (6 months)25 ( #5,020 of 739,318 )
How can I increase my downloads?