Erkenntnis 57 (3):425Ð439 (2002)

Authors
Nancy Cartwright
London School of Economics
Abstract
Opponents of ceteris paribus laws are apt to complain that the laws are vague and untestable. Indeed, claims to this effect are made by Earman, Roberts and Smith in this volume. I argue that these kinds of claims rely on too narrow a view about what kinds of concepts we can and do regularly use in successful sciences and on too optimistic a view about the extent of application of even our most successful non-ceteris paribus laws. When it comes to testing, we test ceteris paribus laws in exactly the same way that we test laws without the ceteris paribus antecedent. But at least when the ceteris paribus antecedent is there we have an explicit acknowledgment of important procedures we must take in the design of the experiments — i.e., procedures to control for “all interferences” even those we cannot identify under the concepts of any known theory.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Ethics   Logic   Ontology
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/a:1021550815652
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References found in this work BETA

The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Hutchinson & Co.
Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement.Nancy Cartwright - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1950 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 1 (4):328-332.
Philosophy of Natural Science.Carl G. Hempel - 1967 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 18 (1):70-72.

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Citations of this work BETA

Innateness in Cognitive Science.Richard Samuels - 2004 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 8 (3):136-141.
Causation in the Social Sciences: Evidence, Inference, and Purpose.Julian Reiss - 2009 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39 (1):20-40.
Mechanisms, laws and explanation.Nancy Cartwright, John Pemberton & Sarah Wieten - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (3):1-19.

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