Violated laws, ceteris paribus clauses, and capacities

Synthese 130 (2):235-264 (2002)
It is often claimed that the bulk of the laws of physics –including such venerable laws as Universal Gravitation– are violated in many (or even all) circumstances because they havecounter-instances that result when a system is not isolated fromother systems. Various accounts of how one should interpretthese (apparently) violated laws have been provided. In thispaper, I examine two accounts of (apparently) violated laws, thatthey are merely ceteris paribus laws and that they aremanifestations of capacities. Through an examination of theprimary example that motivated these views, I show that given aproper understanding of the situation, neither view is optimalbecause the law is not even apparently violated. Along the way, Iam able to diagnose what has led to the mistaken belief: I showthat it originates from an element of the standard empiricistconception of laws. I then evaluate the suggestions of how tointerpret violated laws with respect to other examples and findthem wanting there too.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Metaphysics   Philosophy of Language
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DOI 10.2307/20117215
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Jani Raerinne (2013). Stability and Lawlikeness. Biology and Philosophy 28 (5):833-851.

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