David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 151 (2):233 - 255 (2006)
In this paper I argue against Nancy Cartwright’s claim that we ought to abandon what she calls “fundamentalism” about the laws of nature and adopt instead her “dappled world” hypothesis. According to Cartwright we ought to abandon the notion that fundamental laws (even potentially) apply universally, instead we should consider the law-like statements of science to apply in highly qualified ways within narrow, non-overlapping and ontologically diverse domains, including the laws of fundamental physics. For Cartwright, “laws” are just locally applicable refinements of a more open-ended concept of capacities. By providing a critique of the dappled world approach’s central notion of open ended capacities and substituting this concept with an account of properties drawn from recent writing on the subject of structural realism I show that a form of fundamentalism is viable. I proceed from this conclusion to show that this form of fundamentalism provides a superior reading of case studies, such as the effective field theory program (EFT) in quantum field theory, than the “dappled world” view. The case study of the EFT program demonstrates that ontological variability between theoretical domains can be accounted for without altogether abandoning fundamentalism or adopting Cartwright’s more implausible theses.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
Daniel James McArthur (2011). Discovery, Theory Change and Structural Realism. Synthese 179 (3):361 - 376.
Steven French (2013). Semi-Realism, Sociability and Structure. Erkenntnis 78 (1):1 - 18.
Similar books and articles
Barry Ward (2009). Cartwright, Forces, and Ceteris Paribus Laws. Southwest Philosophy Review 25 (1):55-62.
Margaret Morrison (1994). Causes and Contexts: The Foundations of Laser Theory. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 45 (1):127-151.
Nancy Cartwright (1994). Fundamentalism Vs. The Patchwork of Laws. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 94:279 - 292.
Mehmet Elgin & Elliott Sober (2002). Cartwright on Explanation and Idealization. Erkenntnis 57 (3):441 - 450.
Jakob Hohwy (2003). Capacities, Explanation and the Possibility of Disunity. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (2):179 – 190.
David Spurrett (2001). Cartwright on Laws and Composition. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 15 (3):253 – 268.
Carl Hoefer (2003). For Fundamentalism. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1401-1412.
David Jon Spurrett (1999). Fundamental Laws and the Completeness of Physics. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 13 (3):261 – 274.
Carl Hoefer (2003). For Fundamentalism. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1401--1412.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads146 ( #5,401 of 1,101,604 )
Recent downloads (6 months)56 ( #1,104 of 1,101,604 )
How can I increase my downloads?