David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Dialectica 63 (4):525-554 (2010)
Do component forces exist in conjoined circumstances? Cartwright (1980) says no; Creary (1981) says yes. I'm inclined towards Cartwright's side in this matter, but find several problems with her argumentation. My primary aim here is to present a better, distinctly causal, argument against component forces: very roughly, I argue that the joint posit of component and resultant forces in conjoined circumstances gives rise to a threat of causal overdetermination, avoidance of which best proceeds via eliminativism about component forces. A secondary aim is to show that rejecting component forces does not require, pace Cartwright, rejecting certain attractive theses about what laws of nature express and the role such laws play in scientific explanations.
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