Causes and Laws: The Asymmetry Puzzle

Abstract
For many laws causal asymmetries in dependencies among the variables are not reflected in functional relations of the law equation. In the case of the simple pendulum law, why can we cite the length to explain the period but not the period to explain the length? After surveying attempts to explain the asymmetries, I propose a new account based on an analysis of the relation of causes and laws. This analysis is used to criticize the very notion of causal laws and to clarify the role of ceteris paribus clauses in interpreting scientific laws.
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