Ceteris Paribus Laws

Edited by Markus Schrenk (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
Assistant editor: Florian J. Boge (Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Aachen University of Technology)
About this topic
Summary An alleged law of nature—like Newton's law of gravitation—is said to be a ceteris paribus law if it does not hold under certain circumstances but only ‘when other things are equal’. Typical examples are: ‘provided the supply remains constant, the price of a product increases with growing demand, ceteris paribus’, ‘all bodies fall with the same speed, ceteris paribus’, ‘haemoglobin binds O2, ceteris paribus’. There is, however, an inherent tension in the notion of a ceteris paribus law: on the one hand, laws are said to be strict universal regularities, on the other hand, the proviso clause seems to allow for certain exceptions. Moreover, in the current debate on ceteris paribus laws fervent opponents to the whole idea of law statements with proviso clauses point out that no good sense can be made of a statement like ‘All Fs are Gs, ceteris paribus’. Such a phrase, so they say, is either tautologous like ‘All Fs are Gs, unless not’ or it stands for a proposition like ‘All Fs which are also… are Gs’ the gap of which we are unable to close. Many of those who argue in favour of the idea of ceteris paribus laws, however, not only claim that a proper analysis of what the proviso clause is supposed to mean can be given but even that all laws are of ceteris paribus character.
Key works There's a special Erkenntnis Volume on Ceteris paribus Laws which set the agenda for many years: Earman et al 2002 A follow-up volume is currently under review. Watch this space!
Introductions Reutlinger et al 2015
Related categories

172 found
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1 — 50 / 172
  1. added 2019-01-18
    Idealization and the Laws of Nature.Billy Wheeler - 2018 - Switzerland: Springer.
    This new study provides a refreshing look at the issue of exceptions and shows that much of the problem stems from a failure to recognize at least two kinds of exception-ridden law: ceteris paribus laws and ideal laws. Billy Wheeler offers the first book-length discussion of ideal laws. The key difference between these two kinds of laws concerns the nature of the conditions that need to be satisfied and their epistemological role in the law’s formulation and discovery. He presents a (...)
  2. added 2018-08-06
    Fresnel's Laws, Ceteris Paribus.Aaron Sidney Wright - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 64:38-52.
    This article is about structural realism, historical continuity, laws of nature, and \emph{ceteris paribus} clauses. Fresnel's Laws of optics support Structural Realism because they are a scientific structure that has survived theory change. However, the history of Fresnel's Laws which has been depicted in debates over realism since the 1980s is badly distorted. Specifically, claims that J.~C. Maxwell or his followers believed in an ontologically-subsistent electromagnetic field, and gave up the aether, before Einstein's \emph{annus mirabilis} in 1905 are indefensible. Related (...)
  3. added 2018-06-20
    Generic Generalizations in Science.François Claveau & Jordan Girard - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-21.
    This article maintains that an important class of scientific generalizations should be reinterpreted: they have typically been understood as ceteris paribus laws, but are, in fact, generics. Four arguments are presented to support this thesis. One argument is that the interpretation in terms of ceteris paribus laws is a historical accident. The other three arguments draw on similarities between these generalizations and archetypal generics: they come with similar inferential commitments, they share a syntactic form, and the existing theories to make (...)
  4. added 2018-06-15
    Humeanism and Exceptions in the Fundamental Laws of Physics.Billy Wheeler - 2015 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 21 (3):317-337.
    It has been argued that the fundamental laws of physics do not face a ‘problem of provisos’ equivalent to that found in other scientific disciplines (Earman, Roberts and Smith 2002) and there is only the appearance of exceptions to physical laws if they are confused with differential equations of evolution type (Smith 2002). In this paper I argue that even if this is true, fundamental laws in physics still pose a major challenge to standard Humean approaches to lawhood, as they (...)
  5. added 2018-05-29
    What’s the Point of Ceteris Paribus? Or, How to Understand Supply and Demand Curves.Jennifer S. Jhun - 2018 - Philosophy of Science 85 (2):271-292.
    Philosophers sometimes claim that economics, and the idealizing strategies it employs, is ultimately unable to provide genuine laws of nature. Therefore, unlike physics, it does not qualify as an actual science. Careful consideration of thermodynamics, a well-developed physical theory, reveals substantial parallels with economic methodology. The corrective account of scientific understanding I offer appreciates these parallels: understanding in terms of efficient performance.
  6. added 2018-02-17
    Lakatos’s Challenge? Auxiliary Hypotheses and Non-Monotonous Inference.Frank Zenker - 2006 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 37 (2):405-415.
    Gerhard Schurz [2001, Journal for General Philosophy of Science, 32, 65-107] has proposed to reconstruct auxiliary hypothesis addition, e.g., postulation of Neptune to immunize Newtonian mechanics, with concepts from non-monotonous inference to avoid the retention of false predictions that are among the consequence-set of the deductive model. However, the non-monotonous reconstruction retains the observational premise that is indeed rejected in the deductive model. Hence, his proposal fails to do justice to Lakatos' core-belt model, therefore fails to meet what Schurz coined (...)
  7. added 2018-02-17
    Ceteris Paribus Conditionals and Comparative Normalcy.Martin Smith - 2006 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 36 (1):97-121.
    Our understanding of subjunctive conditionals has been greatly enhanced through the use of possible world semantics and, more precisely, by the idea that they involve variably strict quantification over possible worlds. I propose to extend this treatment to ceteris paribus conditionals – that is, conditionals that incorporate a ceteris paribus or ‘other things being equal’ clause. Although such conditionals are commonly invoked in scientific theorising, they traditionally arouse suspicion and apprehensiveness amongst philosophers. By treating ceteris paribus conditionals as a species (...)
  8. added 2018-02-16
    Ceteris Paribus Post.John Earman, John T. Roberts & Sheldon Smith - 2002 - Erkenntnis 57 (3):281-301.
    Many have claimed that ceteris paribus laws are a quite legitimate feature of scientific theories, some even going so far as to claim that laws of all scientific theories currently on offer are merely CP. We argue here that one of the common props of such a thesis, that there are numerous examples of CP laws in physics, is false. Moreover, besides the absence of genuine examples from physics, we suggest that otherwise unproblematic claims are rendered untestable by the mere (...)
  9. added 2017-10-16
    Fresnel's Laws, Ceteris Paribus.Aaron Sidney Wright - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 64:38-52.
    This article is about structural realism, historical continuity, laws of nature, and \emph{ceteris paribus} clauses. Fresnel's Laws of optics support Structural Realism because they are a scientific structure that has survived theory change. However, the history of Fresnel's Laws which has been depicted in debates over realism since the 1980s is badly distorted. Specifically, claims that J.~C. Maxwell or his followers believed in an ontologically-subsistent electromagnetic field, and gave up the aether, before Einstein's \emph{annus mirabilis} in 1905 are indefensible. Related (...)
  10. added 2017-08-30
    Who's Afraid of Ceteris-Paribus Laws? Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Them.Marc Lange - 2002 - Erkenntnis 57 (3):407-423.
    Ceteris-paribus clauses are nothing to worry about; a ceteris-paribus qualifier is not poisonously indeterminate in meaning. Ceteris-paribus laws teach us that a law need not be associated straightforwardly with a regularity in the manner demanded by regularity analyses of law and analyses of laws as relations among universals. This lesson enables us to understand the sense in which the laws of nature would have been no different under various counterfactual suppositions -- a feature even of those laws that involve no (...)
  11. added 2017-08-01
    Psychological Laws (Revisited).Mark Bauer - 2010 - Erkenntnis 73 (1):41 - 53.
    It has been suggested that a functionalist understanding of the metaphysics of psychological typing eliminates the prospect for psychological laws. Kim, Millikan, and Shapiro have each separately argued that, if psychological types as functional types are multiply realized, then the diversity of realizing mechanisms demonstrates that there can be no laws of psychology. Additionally, Millikan has argued that the role of functional attribution in the explanation of historical kinds limits the formulation of psychological principles to particular taxa; hence, psychological laws (...)
  12. added 2017-02-22
    Editorial.Clark Glymour - manuscript
    The use of ceteris paribus clauses in philosophy and in the sciences has a long and fascinating history. Persky (1990) traces the use by economists of ceteris paribus clauses in qualifying generalizations as far back as William Petty’s Treatise of Taxes and Contributions (1662). John Cairnes’ The Character and Logical Method of Political Economy (1857) is credited with enunciating the idea that the conclusions of economic investigations hold “only in the absence of disturbing causes”.1 His Leading Principles (1874) contains the (...)
  13. added 2017-02-15
    Earman, J.-Bangs, Crunches, Whimpers, and Shrieks.A. Maidens - 1998 - Philosophical Books 39:220-221.
  14. added 2017-02-09
    Fundamentalism Vs. The Patchwork of Laws.Nancy Cartwright - 1993 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 94:279 - 292.
  15. added 2017-02-01
    Complexity and Social Scientific Laws.Lee C. McIntyre - 1993 - Synthese 97 (2):209 - 227.
    This essay defends the role of law-like explanation in the social sciences by showing that the "argument from complexity" fails to demonstrate a difference in kind between the subject matter of natural and social science. There are problems internal to the argument itself - stemming from reliance on an overly idealized view of natural scientific practice - and reason to think that, based upon an analogy with a more sophisticated understanding of natural science, which makes use of "redescriptions" in the (...)
  16. added 2017-01-27
    Counterfactuals and Unphysical Ceteris Paribus: An Explanatory Fallacy.Milan Cirkovic - 2013 - Filozofija I Društvo 24 (4):143-160.
    I reconsider a type of counterfactual argument often used in historical sciences on a recent widely discussed example of the so-called “rare Earth” hypothesis in planetary sciences and astrobiology. The argument is based on the alleged “rarity” of some crucial ingredient for the planetary habitability, which is, in Earth’s case, provided by contingent evolutionary development. For instance, the claim that a contingent fact of history which has created planet Jupiter enables shielding of Earth from most dangerous impact catastrophes, thus increasing (...)
  17. added 2017-01-25
    Paradoxes of Confirmation and the Ceteris Paribus Clause.Adam Grobler - 2013 - Filozofia Nauki 21 (3):37 - +.
  18. added 2017-01-25
    Las Leyes Ceteris Paribus y la Inexactitud de la Economía.Amparo Gomez Rodriguez - 2001 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 20 (3).
  19. added 2017-01-23
    Natural Laws in Scientific Practice by Marc Lange.John W. Carroll - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (1):240-245.
  20. added 2017-01-22
    Hempel's Provisos and Ceteris Paribus Clauses.Christopher H. Eliot - 2011 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 42 (2):207-218.
    The problem of ceteris paribus clauses and Hempel’s problem of provisos are closely-related difficulties. Both challenge advocates of accounts of scientific theories involving laws understood as universal generalizations, and they have been treated as identical problems. Earman and Roberts argue that the problems are distinct. Towards arguing against them, I characterize the relationship between Hempel’s provisos and one way of expressing ceteris paribus clauses. I then describe the relationship between the problems attributed to the clauses, suggesting that they form a (...)
  21. added 2017-01-22
    Confirmation, Complexity and Social Laws.Harold Kincaid - 1988 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:299-307.
    I defend the prospect of good science in the social sciences by looking at the obstacles to social laws. I criticize traditional approaches, which rule for or against social laws on primarily conceptual grounds, and argue that only a close analysis of actual empirical research can decide the issue. To that end, I focus on problems caused by the ceteris paribus nature of social generalizations, outline a variety of ways those problems might be handled, and then examine in detail the (...)
  22. added 2017-01-18
    There Are Laws in the Social Sciences.Harold Kincaid - 2004 - In Christopher Hitchcock (ed.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Science. Blackwell. pp. 168--186.
  23. added 2017-01-17
    Prioritised Ceteris Paribus Logic for Counterfactual Reasoning.Patrick Girard & Marcus A. Triplett - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1681-1703.
    The semantics for counterfactuals due to David Lewis has been challenged by appealing to miracles. Miracles may skew a given similarity order in favour of those possible worlds which exhibit them. Lewis responded with a system of priorities that mitigates the significance of miracles when constructing similarity relations. We propose a prioritised ceteris paribus analysis of counterfactuals inspired by Lewis’ system of priorities. By analysing the couterfactuals with a ceteris paribus clause one forces out, in a natural manner, those possible (...)
  24. added 2017-01-17
    Ceteris Paribus Laws and Minutis Rectis Laws.Luke Fenton-Glynn - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (2):274-305.
    Special science generalizations admit of exceptions. Among the class of non-exceptionless special science generalizations, I distinguish minutis rectis generalizations from the more familiar category of ceteris paribus generalizations. I argue that the challenges involved in showing that mr generalizations can play the law role are underappreciated, and quite different from those involved in showing that cp generalizations can do so. I outline a strategy for meeting the challenges posed by mr generalizations.
  25. added 2017-01-17
    Antidotes All the Way Down?Alexander Bird - 2004 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 19 (3):259-269.
    This paper concerns the relationship between dispositions and ceteris paribus laws. Dispositions are related to conditionals. Typically a fragile glass will break if struck with force. But possession of the disposition does not entail the corresponding simple conditional. The phenomena of finks and antidotes show that an object may possess the disposition without the conditional being true. Finks and antidotes may be thought of as exceptions to the straightforward relation between disposition and conditional. The existence of these phenomena is easy (...)
  26. added 2017-01-16
    Violated Laws, Ceteris Paribus Clauses, and Capacities.Sheldon Smith - 2002 - Synthese 130 (2):235-264.
    It is often claimed that the bulk of the laws of physics -- including such venerable laws as Universal Gravitation -- are violated in many circumstances because they have counter-instances that result when a system is not isolated from other systems. Various accounts of how one should interpret these violated laws have been provided. In this paper, I examine two accounts of violated laws, that they are merely ceteris paribus laws and that they are manifestations of capacities. Through an examination (...)
  27. added 2017-01-15
    The Epistemology of Hedged Laws.Robert Kowalenko - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 42 (3):445-452.
    Standard objections to the notion of a hedged, or ceteris paribus, law of nature usually boil down to the claim that such laws would be either 1) irredeemably vague, 2) untestable, 3) vacuous, 4) false, or a combination thereof. Using epidemiological studies in nutrition science as an example, I show that this is not true of the hedged law-like generalizations derived from data models used to interpret large and varied sets of empirical observations. Although it may be ‘in principle impossible’ (...)
  28. added 2017-01-15
    How (Not) to Think About Idealisation and Ceteris Paribus -Laws.Robert Kowalenko - 2009 - Synthese 167 (1):183-201.
    "Semantic dispositionalism" is the theory that a speaker's meaning something by a given linguistic symbol is determined by her dispositions to use the symbol in a certain way. According to an objection by Kripke, further elaborated in Kusch :156–163, 2005), semantic dispositionalism involves ceteris paribus-clauses and idealisations, such as unbounded memory, that deviate from standard scientific methodology. I argue that Kusch misrepresents both ceteris paribus-laws and idealisation, neither of which factually "approximate" the behaviour of agents or the course of events, (...)
  29. added 2017-01-15
    Fodor V. Kripke: Semantic Dispositionalism, Idealization and Ceteris Paribus Clauses.M. Kusch - 2005 - Analysis 65 (2):156-163.
  30. added 2017-01-14
    Is There High-Level Causation?Luke Glynn - manuscript
    The discovery of high-level causal relations seems a central activity of the special sciences. Those same sciences are less successful in formulating strict laws. If causation must be underwritten by strict laws, we are faced with a puzzle, which might be dubbed the 'no strict laws' problem for high-level causation. Attempts have been made to dissolve this problem by showing that leading theories of causation do not in fact require that causation be underwritten by strict laws. But this conclusion has (...)
  31. added 2017-01-14
    Ceteris Paribus and Ceteris Rectis Laws: Content and Causal Role.Gerhard Schurz - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S10):1801-1817.
  32. added 2016-12-30
    The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science.Nancy Cartwright - 1999 - Cambridge University Press.
    It is often supposed that the spectacular successes of our modern mathematical sciences support a lofty vision of a world completely ordered by one single elegant theory. In this book Nancy Cartwright argues to the contrary. When we draw our image of the world from the way modern science works - as empiricism teaches us we should - we end up with a world where some features are precisely ordered, others are given to rough regularity and still others behave in (...)
  33. added 2016-11-29
    How Untidy is God's Mind? A Note on the Dynamical Implications of Nancy Cartwright's Metaphysics.Harmke Kamminga & Reza Tavakol - 1993 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (3):549-553.
    One of the points of principle made by Cartwright is that the fundamental laws do not describe reality because they are always employed together with ceteris paribus clauses, the implication being that ceteris paribus assumptions always have dire consequences. We here wish to offer a dynamical interpretation of ceteris paribus laws in terms of their stability or fragility. On this interpretation, the consequences of ceteris paribus assumptions become concretely dependent on the nature of the laws under consideration and cannot be (...)
  34. added 2016-10-21
    Laws, Theories, and Generalizations.Ronald Giere - 1988 - In A. Grünbaum & W. Salmon (eds.), The Limits of Deductivism. University of California Press, Berkeley, Ca. pp. 37--46.
  35. added 2015-08-24
    Can Capacities Rescue Us From Cp Laws.Markus Schrenk - 2007 - In B. Gnassounou & M. Kistler (eds.), Dispositions in Philosophy and Science. Ashgate. pp. 221--247.
    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 then Gx, ceteris paribus’ may state no more than a tautology: ‘For all x: Fx then Gx, unless not’. One of the major attempts to avoid this problem (and others concerning (...)
  36. added 2015-06-17
    On the Status of Social Laws.Friedel Weinert - 1997 - Dialectica 51 (3):225–242.
    A popular defence of the possibility of social laws is to interpret them as ceteris paribus statements along the same line as physical laws. It cannot be assumed, however, without further considerations regarding the role of initial conditions, that social laws may acquire the status of genuine laws. Two vexing problems need to be addressed: Exceptions should be compatible rather than incompatible with social regularities and social laws should not depend on initial conditions. The paper argues that neither of these (...)
  37. added 2015-06-17
    Ceteris Paribus Conditions as Prior Knowledge: A View From Economics.Neil De Marchi & Jinbang Kim - 1988 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:317 - 325.
    We interpret ceteris paribus conditions as the conditions necessary to conducting an experiment. "Ceteris paribus" is thus not a hold-all for whatever we do not know, but a listing of the various decisions taken in moving from a theoretical hypothesis to a testable proposition. The decisions range from modeling in a certain way to selecting a particular functional form or estimation technique. They embody best knowledge/best practice. Debate about the meaning and importance of any test result must center on these (...)
  38. added 2015-05-31
    CP-Law Statements as Vague, Self-Referential, Self-Locating, Statistical, and Perfectly in Order.John T. Roberts - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S10):1775-1786.
    I propose understanding CP-law statements as statements that assert the existence of vague statistical laws, not by fully specifying the contents of those laws, but by picking them out via a description that is both self-referential and self-locating. I argue that this proposal validates many common assumptions about CP-laws and correctly classifies many examples of putative CP-laws. It does this while avoiding the most serious worries that motivate some philosophers to be skeptical of CP-laws, namely the worry that they lack (...)
  39. added 2015-05-05
    Laws, Idealization, and the Status of Psychology.Steven Horst - unknown
    The SPP is, among other things, a place where we discuss nagging and perennial problems on the bordermarches between philosophy and the sciences. Sometimes problems are nagging and perennial because they are deep and difficult. And sometimes they are merely an artifact, a shadow cast by our own way of formulating the problem. I should like to suggest to you that philosophy of mind suffers badly from being the last refuge of the best philosophy of science of the 1950's, and (...)
  40. added 2015-05-05
    Laws, Mind, and Free Will.Steven Horst - 2011 - MIT Press.
    Since the seventeenth century, our understanding of the natural world has been one of phenomena that behave in accordance with natural laws. While other elements of the early modern scientific worldview may be rejected or at least held in question—the metaphor of the world as a great machine, the narrowly mechanist assumption that all physical interactions must be contact interactions, the idea that matter might actually be obeying rules laid down by its Divine Author – the notion of natural law (...)
  41. added 2015-04-20
    Laws, Regularities and Exceptions.Alice Drewery - 2000 - Ratio 13 (1):1–12.
    Sentences of the form ‘Fs are Gs’ can express laws of nature, weaker Special Science laws, and also regularities which are not a part of any explicit science. These so-called generic sentences express nomic relationships which may have exceptions. I discuss the kinds of regularities expressed by generic sentences and argue that since they play a similar role in determining our ability to categorise and reason about the world, we should look for a unified treatment of them.
  42. added 2015-04-06
    Ceteris Paribus Conditions and the Interventionist Account of Causality.Tobias Henschen - 2015 - Synthese 192 (10):3297-3311.
    The paper uses a de-relativized variant of Woodward’s definition of direct type-level causation to develop an account of causal ceteris paribus laws. It argues that the relation between X and Y needs to satisfy three conditions in order to qualify as one of direct type-level causation, that satisfaction of these conditions guarantees the applicability of claims of direct type-level causation, that the context of applicability motivates referring to these conditions as cp conditions, and that claims of direct type-level causation qualify (...)
  43. added 2015-04-05
    How to Give a Semantic Analysis of Ceteris Paribus Laws.Kai-Yuan Cheng - 2008 - Cadernos de História E Filosofia da Ciência 18 (1).
    The phrase of ceteris paribus , i.e., other things being equal, is widely employed to state laws in non-basic sciences, such as economics, medicine, geography, biology, and psychology. However, what the phrase in question says is highly unclear, which results in severe philosophical problems calling into question the status of special sciences. The main purpose of this paper is to critically examine a lexicographic study of cp proposed by Michael Morreau , who tries to provide an adequate semantic analysis of (...)
  44. added 2015-04-05
    Laws in the Special Sciences: A Comparative Study of Biological Generalizations.Mehmet Elgin - 2002 - Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison
    The question of whether biology contains laws has important implications about the nature of science. Some philosophers believe that the legitimacy of the special sciences depends on whether they contain laws. In this dissertation, I defend the thesis that biology contains laws. In Chapter I, I discuss the importance of this problem and set the stage for my inquiry. In Chapter V, I summarize the results of Chapters II, III, and IV and I offer reasons why the position I advance (...)
  45. added 2015-04-05
    Ceteris Paribus Conditions as Prior Knowledge: A View From Economics.Neil de Marchi & Jinbang Kim - 1988 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1988:317-325.
    We interpret ceteris paribus conditions as the conditions necessary to conducting an experiment. "Ceteris paribus" is thus not a hold-all for whatever we do not know, but a listing of the various decisions taken in moving from a theoretical hypothesis to a testable proposition. The decisions range from modeling in a certain way to selecting a particular functional form or estimation technique. They embody best knowledge/best practice. Debate about the meaning and importance of any test result must center on these (...)
  46. added 2015-04-04
    Ceteris Paribus Laws.Emma Tobin - 2004 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 12 (4):498.
  47. added 2015-04-04
    Other Things Being Equal: Counterfactuals, Natural Laws, and Scientific Models; with Case Studies From Ecology.Gregory Matthew Mikkelson - 1997 - Dissertation, The University of Chicago
    "Metalinguists" depict the truth conditions of counterfactuals in terms of logical relationships between certain kinds of sentences. Possible-worlds theorists more candidly acknowledge unactualized possibilities, which metalinguists end up having to postulate anyway. However, similarity is not the right criterion for picking out the relevant antecedent-worlds. Rather, the relevant antecedent-worlds are those in which the appropriate ceteris paribus conditions obtain. ;True ceteris paribus conditions are importantly distinct from two other ways of qualifying natural laws: ideality and normality conditions. Ordinary counterfactuals involve (...)
  48. added 2015-03-24
    The Epistemic Account of Ceteris Paribus Conditions.Wolfgang Spohn - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (3):385-408.
    The paper focuses on interpreting ceteris paribus conditions as normal conditions. After discussing six basic problems for the explication of normal conditions and seven interpretations that do not well solve those problems I turn to what I call the epistemic account. According to it the normal is, roughly, the not unexpected. This is developed into a rigorous constructive account of normal conditions, which makes essential use of ranking theory and in particular allows to explain the phenomenon of multiply exceptional conditions. (...)
  49. added 2015-03-24
    Ceteris Paribus Laws Need Machines to Generate Them.John M. Pemberton & Nancy Cartwright - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S10):1745-1758.
    Most of the regularities that get represented as ‘laws’ in our sciences arise from, and are to be found regularly associated with, the successful operation of a nomological machine. Reference to the nomological machine must be included in the cp-clause of a cp-law if the entire cp-claim is to be true. We agree, for example, ‘ceteris paribus aspirins cure headaches’, but insist that they can only do so when swallowed by someone with the right physiological makeup and a headache. Besides (...)
  50. added 2015-03-24
    The Role of Kinds in the Semantics of Ceteris Paribus Laws.Bernhard Nickel - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S10):1729-1744.
    This paper investigates the interaction between semantic theories for cp-laws (roughly, laws that hold “all things equal”) and metaphysical theories of kinds in the special sciences. Its central conclusion is that cp-laws concerning kinds behave differently from cp-laws concerning non-kinds: “ravens are black” which concerns the kind corvus corax, behaves differently from from “albino ravens are white” which concerns the non-kind grouping of albino ravens. I argue that this difference is in the first instance logical: the two sorts of cp-laws (...)
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