David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In B. Gnassounou & M. Kistler (eds.), Dispositions in Philosophy and Science. Ashgate (2007)
Many philosophers of science think that most laws of nature (even those of fundamental physics) are so called ceteris paribus laws, i.e., roughly speaking, laws with exceptions. Yet, the ceteris paribus clause of these laws is problematic. Amongst the more infamous difficulties is the danger that 'For all x: Fx ⊃ Gx, ceteris paribus' may state no more than a tautology: 'For all x: Fx ⊃ Gx, unless not'. One of the major attempts to avoid this problem (and others concerning ceteris paribus laws) is to claim that the subject matter of laws are ascriptions of dispositions, powers, capacities etc., and not the regular behaviour we find in nature. That we do not know whether the cetera are paria in a specific situation does not matter to the dispositionalist because the objects have the disposition regardless of the circumstances. The defence of the latter claim is that dispositions can be instantiated without being manifested. Hence, the laws that ascribe dispositions are strict and it looks as if they do not face the above mentioned problems of ceteris paribus laws. In this essay I attempt to show that these assumptions are wrong. I hope to illustrate that not only does the ceteris paribus clause reoccur inside the dispositions, moreover, there are laws—laws about non-fundamental entities with instable dispositions—which bear a ceteris paribus clause that cannot be hidden in a disposition.
|Keywords||Ceteris Paribus Laws Powers Dispositions|
|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
Jonathan Cohen & Craig Callender (2010). Special Sciences, Conspiracy and the Better Best System Account of Lawhood. Erkenntnis 73 (3):427 - 447.
Sungho Choi (2013). Can Opposing Dispositions Be Co-Instantiated? Erkenntnis 78 (1):161 - 182.
Similar books and articles
Marc Lange (2002). Who's Afraid of Ceteris-Paribus Laws? Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Them. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 57 (3):281Ð301.
Nancy Cartwright (2002). In Favor of Laws That Are Not Ceteris Paribus After All. Erkenntnis 57 (3):425Ð439.
John Earman & John Roberts (1999). "Ceteris Paribus", There Is No Problem of Provisos. Synthese 118 (3):439 - 478.
Paul M. Pietroski & Georges Rey (1995). When Other Things Aren't Equal: Saving Ceteris Paribus Laws From Vacuity. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (1):81-110.
James Woodward (2002). There is No Such Thing as a Ceteris Paribus Law. Erkenntnis 57 (3):303Ð328.
Andreas Hüttemann, Alexander Reutlinger & Gerhard Schurz, Ceteris Paribus Laws. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Charles Wallis (1994). Ceteris Paribus Laws and Psychological Explanations. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:388 - 397.
Markus Schrenk (2003). Real Ceteris Paribus Laws. In R. Bluhm & C. Nimtz (eds.), Proceedings of GAP.5, Bielefeld 2003. mentis.
Alice Drewery (2001). Dispositions and Ceteris Paribus Laws. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (4):723-733.
Added to index2009-04-28
Total downloads132 ( #7,555 of 1,102,047 )
Recent downloads (6 months)13 ( #17,647 of 1,102,047 )
How can I increase my downloads?