Who's afraid of ceteris-paribus laws? Or: How I learned to stop worrying and love them [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Erkenntnis 57 (3):281Ð301 (2002)
Ceteris-paribus clauses are nothing to worry about; aceteris-paribus qualifier is not poisonously indeterminate in meaning. Ceteris-paribus laws teach us that a law need not be associated straightforwardly with a regularity in the manner demanded by regularity analyses of law and analyses of laws as relations among universals. This lesson enables us to understand the sense in which the laws of nature would have been no different under various counterfactual suppositions — a feature even of those laws that involve no ceteris-paribus qualification and are actually associated with exceptionless regularities. Ceteris-paribus generalizations of an‘inexact science’ qualify as laws of that science in virtue of their distinctive relation to counterfactuals: they form a set that is stable for the purposes of that field. (Though an accident may possess tremendous resilience under counterfactual suppositions, the laws are sharply distinguished from the accidents in that the laws are collectively as resilient as they could logically possibly be.) The stability of an inexact science's laws may involve their remaining reliable even under certain counterfactual suppositions violating fundamental laws of physics. The ceteris-paribus laws of an inexact science may thus possess a kind of necessity lacking in the fundamental laws of physics. A nomological explanation supplied by an inexact science would then be irreducible to an explanation of the same phenomenon at the level of fundamental physics. Island biogeography is used to illustrate how a special science could be autonomous in this manner.
|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
Uri D. Leibowitz (2011). Scientific Explanation and Moral Explanation. Noûs 45 (3):472-503.
Jesse R. Steinberg (2010). Dispositions and Subjunctives. Philosophical Studies 148 (3):323 - 341.
Marc Lange (2007). Laws and Meta-Laws of Nature: Conservation Laws and Symmetries. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (3):457-481.
Marc Lange (2005). Reply to Ellis and to Handfield on Essentialism, Laws, and Counterfactuals. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (4):581 – 588.
Jonathan Cohen & Craig Callender (2009). A Better Best System Account of Lawhood. Philosophical Studies 145 (1):1 - 34.
Similar books and articles
Barry Ward (2009). Cartwright, Forces, and Ceteris Paribus Laws. Southwest Philosophy Review 25 (1):55-62.
Charles Wallis (1994). Ceteris Paribus Laws and Psychological Explanations. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:388 - 397.
Paul M. Pietroski & Georges Rey (1995). When Other Things Aren't Equal: Saving Ceteris Paribus Laws From Vacuity. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (1):81-110.
Marcello Guarini (2000). Horgan and Tienson on Ceteris Paribus Laws. Philosophy of Science 67 (2):301-315.
James Woodward (2002). There is No Such Thing as a Ceteris Paribus Law. Erkenntnis 57 (3):303Ð328.
Nancy Cartwright (2002). In Favor of Laws That Are Not Ceteris Paribus After All. Erkenntnis 57 (3):425Ð439.
Andreas Hüttemann, Alexander Reutlinger & Gerhard Schurz, Ceteris Paribus Laws. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
John Earman & John Roberts (1999). "Ceteris Paribus", There Is No Problem of Provisos. Synthese 118 (3):439 - 478.
Markus Schrenk (2007). Can Capacities Rescue Us From Ceteris Paribus Laws? In B. Gnassounou & M. Kistler (eds.), Dispositions in Philosophy and Science. Ashgate.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads146 ( #8,871 of 1,696,600 )
Recent downloads (6 months)42 ( #6,956 of 1,696,600 )
How can I increase my downloads?