David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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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 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 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||Philosophy Philosophy Epistemology Logic Metaphysics Philosophy of Language|
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References found in this work BETA
Nancy Cartwright (1989). Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement. Oxford University Press.
Nancy Cartwright (1999). The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science. Cambridge University Press.
John Worrall (1989). 98 Evandro Agazzi. Dialectica 43 (1-2).
Tian Yu Cao & Silvan S. Schweber (1993). The Conceptual Foundations and the Philosophical Aspects of Renormalization Theory. Synthese 97 (1):33 - 108.
Dan McArthur (2003). Reconsidering Structural Realism. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 33 (4):517 - 536.
Citations of this work BETA
Steven French (2013). Semi-Realism, Sociability and Structure. Erkenntnis 78 (1):1 - 18.
Daniel James McArthur (2011). Discovery, Theory Change and Structural Realism. Synthese 179 (3):361 - 376.
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