Ceteris paribus — an inadequate representation for biological contingency

Erkenntnis 57 (3):329-350 (2002)
It has been claimed that ceteris paribus laws, rather than strict laws are the proper aim of the special sciences. This is so because the causal regularities found in these domains are exception-ridden, being contingent on the presence of the appropriate conditions and the absence of interfering factors. I argue that the ceteris paribus strategy obscures rather than illuminates the important similarities and differences between representations of causal regularities in the exact and inexact sciences. In particular, a detailed account of the types and degrees of contingency found in the domain of biology permits a more adequate understanding of the relations among the sciences.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Ethics   Logic   Ontology
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DOI 10.2307/20013161
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Alexander Reutlinger (2011). A Theory of Non-Universal Laws. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (2):97 - 117.
Robert Kowalenko (2011). The Epistemology of Hedged Laws. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42 (3):445-452.
Jani Raerinne (2013). Stability and Lawlikeness. Biology and Philosophy 28 (5):833-851.

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