David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 45 (1):127-151 (1994)
One of Nancy Cartwright's arguments for entity realism focuses on the non-redundancy of causal explanation. In How the Laws of Physics Lie she uses an example from laser theory to illustrate how we can have a variety of theoretical treatments governing the same phenomena while allowing just one causal story. In the following I show that in the particular example Cartwright chooses causal explanation exhibits the same kind of redundancy present in theoretical explanation. In an attempt to salvage Cartwright's example the causal explanation could be reinterpreted as a capacity claim, as outlined in her recent work Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement. However, I argue that capacities cannot be isolated in the way that Cartwright suggests and consequently these capacity claims also fail to provide a unique causal story. We can, however, make sense of capacities by characterizing them in a relational way and I offer some ideas as to how this approach would retain our intuitions about capacities while denying their ontological priority as dormant powers.
|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
Matthias Egg (2012). Causal Warrant for Realism About Particle Physics. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 43 (2):259-280.
Similar books and articles
Rebecca Schweder (2005). A Defense of a Unificationist Theory of Explanation. Foundations of Science 10 (4):421-435.
Daniel Steel (2010). Cartwright on Causality: Methods, Metaphysics and Modularity. Economics and Philosophy 26 (1):77-86.
Christoph Schmidt-Petri (2008). Cartwright and Mill on Tendencies and Capacities. In Luc Bovens, Carl Hoefer & Stephan Hartmann (eds.), Nancy Cartwright's Philosophy of Science. Routledge. 291--302.
Jakob Hohwy (2003). Capacities, Explanation and the Possibility of Disunity. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (2):179 – 190.
Gurol Irzik (1992). Cartwright, Capacities, and Probabilities. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:239 - 250.
Stuart S. Glennan (1997). Capacities, Universality, and Singularity. Philosophy of Science 64 (4):605-626.
Christopher Read Hitchcock (1992). Causal Explanation and Scientific Realism. Erkenntnis 37 (2):151 - 178.
Deborah G. Mayo (1986). Cartwright, Causality, and Coincidence. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:42 - 58.
Nancy Cartwright (1989). Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement. Oxford University Press.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads14 ( #114,504 of 1,101,740 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #116,934 of 1,101,740 )
How can I increase my downloads?