Laws of Nature Don't Have Ceteris Paribus Clauses, They Are Ceteris Paribus Clauses

Ratio 26 (2):134-147 (2013)

Authors
Travis Dumsday
Concordia University of Edmonton
Abstract
Laws of nature are properly (if controversially) conceived as abstract entities playing a governing role in the physical universe. Dispositionalists typically hold that laws of nature are not real, or at least are not fundamental, and that regularities in the physical universe are grounded in the causal powers of objects. By contrast, I argue that dispositionalism implies nomic realism: since at least some dispositions have ceteris paribus clauses incorporating uninstantiated universals, and these ceteris paribus clauses help to determine their dispositions' ranges of manifestation, there are indeed abstracta which play a governing role in the physical universe. After addressing several objections (including the objection that such ‘laws’ lack sufficient independence/externality from the dispositions to count as genuinely governing), I go on to consider some broader implications of this conclusion for other debates in metaphysics and the philosophy of science.1.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/rati.12000
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 39,692
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Nature’s Metaphysics.Alexander Bird - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
The Metaphysics Within Physics.Tim Maudlin - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1993 - Philosophical Perspectives 7 (3):429-440.
Laws in Nature.Stephen Mumford - 2004 - Routledge.

View all 24 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

When Other Things Aren't Equal: Saving Ceteris Paribus Laws From Vacuity.Paul Pietroski & Georges Rey - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (1):81-110.
Ceteris Paribus Clauses, Closure Clauses and Falsifiability.Ingvar Johansson - 1980 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 11 (1):16-22.
Anomalous Monism, Ceteris Paribus, and Psychological Explanation.Robert Klee - 1992 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 43 (3):389-403.
Cartwright, Forces, and Ceteris Paribus Laws.Barry Ward - 2009 - Southwest Philosophy Review 25 (1):55-62.
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.
Causal Equations Without Ceteris Paribus Clauses.Peter Gildenhuys - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (4):608-632.
Ceteris Paribus Laws and Psychological Explanations.Charles Wallis - 1994 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:388-397.
Ceteris Paribus Laws.Alexander Reutlinger, Gerhard Schurz & Andreas Hüttemann - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2012-10-16

Total views
164 ( #40,731 of 2,328,130 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #143,789 of 2,328,130 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature