What is 'normal'? An evolution-theoretic foundation for normic laws and their relation to statistical normality

Philosophy of Science 68 (4):476-497 (2001)
Normic laws have the form "if A, then normally B." They are omnipresent in everyday life and non-physical 'life' sciences such as biology, psychology, social sciences, and humanities. They differ significantly from ceteris-paribus laws in physics. While several authors have doubted that normic laws are genuine laws at all, others have argued that normic laws express a certain kind of prototypical normality which is independent of statistical majority. This paper presents a foundation for normic laws which is based on generalized evolution theory and explains their omnipresence, lawlikeness, and reliability. It is argued that the fact that normic laws are a product of evolution must establish a systematic connection between prototypical and statistical normality.
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DOI 10.1086/392938
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