David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In this paper I develop five worries concerning Cartwright’s realism about entities and capacities. The first is that while she was right to insist on the ontic commitment that flows from causal explanation, she was wrong to tie these commitments solely to the entities that do the causal explaining. This move obscured the nature of causal explanation and its connection to laws. The second worry is that when she turned her attention to causal inference, by insisting on the motto of ‘the most likely cause’, she underplayed her powerful argument for realism. For she focused her attention on an extrinsic feature of causal inference (or, indeed, of any ampliative inference), that is the demand of high probability, leaving behind the intrinsic qualities that causal explanation should have in order to provide the required understanding. The third worry is that her objections to Inference to the Best Explanation were unnecessarily tied to her objections about the falsity of fundamental laws. The fourth worry is that though her argument for positing capacities and being realist about them was supposed to take strength from its parallel with Sellars’s powerful argument for the indispensable explanatory role of positing unobservable entities, there are important disanalogies between the two arguments which cast doubt on the indispensability of capacities. The final (fifth) worry is that laws—perhaps brute regularities—might well have to come back from the front door, since they are still the most plausible candidates for explaining why objects have the capacities to do what they can do.
|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
Gurol Irzik (1992). Cartwright, Capacities, and Probabilities. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:239 - 250.
Yvonne Raley (2007). The Facticity of Explanation and its Consequences. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (2):123 – 135.
Jakob Hohwy (2003). Capacities, Explanation and the Possibility of Disunity. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 17 (2):179 – 190.
Stuart S. Glennan (1997). Capacities, Universality, and Singularity. Philosophy of Science 64 (4):605-626.
Robert Pierson & Richard Reiner (2008). Explanatory Warrant for Scientific Realism. Synthese 161 (2):271 - 282.
Nancy Cartwright (1989). Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement. Oxford University Press.
Mohamed Elsamahi (1994). Could Theoretical Entities Save Realism? In David & Richard Hull & Burian (ed.), PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association. 173 - 180.
Deborah G. Mayo (1986). Cartwright, Causality, and Coincidence. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:42 - 58.
Christopher Read Hitchcock (1992). Causal Explanation and Scientific Realism. Erkenntnis 37 (2):151 - 178.
Margaret Morrison (1994). Causes and Contexts: The Foundations of Laser Theory. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 45 (1):127-151.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads91 ( #14,524 of 1,100,084 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #304,128 of 1,100,084 )
How can I increase my downloads?