Ceteris paribus laws: Classification and deconstruction [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Erkenntnis 57 (3):351Ð372 (2002)
It has not been sufficiently considered in philosophical discussions of ceteris paribus (CP) laws that distinct kinds of CP-laws exist in science with rather different meanings. I distinguish between (1.) comparative CP-laws and (2.) exclusive CP-laws. There exist also mixed CP-laws, which contain a comparative and an exclusive CP-clause. Exclusive CP-laws may be either (2.1) definite, (2.2) indefinite or (2.3) normic. While CP-laws of kind (2.1) and (2.2) exhibit deductivistic behaviour, CP-laws of kind (2.3) require a probabilistic or non-monotonic reconstruction. CP-laws of kind (1) may be both deductivistic or probabilistic. All these kinds of CP-laws have empirical content by which they are testable, except CP-laws of kind (2.2) which are almost vacuous. Typically, CP-laws of kind (1) express invariant correlations, CP-laws of kind (2.1) express closed system laws of physical sciences, and CP-laws of kind (2.3) express normic laws of non-physical sciences based on evolution-theoretic stability properties.
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