Authors
Jakob Hohwy
Monash University
Abstract
Nancy Cartwright argues that so-called capacities, not universal laws of nature, best explain the often complex way events actually unfold. On this view, science would represent a world that is fundamentally "dappled", or disunified, and not, as orthodoxy would perhaps have it, a world unified by universal laws of nature. I argue, first, that the problem Cartwright raises for laws of nature seems to arise for capacities too, so why reject laws of nature? Second, that in so far as there is a problem, it concerns the role of counterfactuals in explanation; I then briefly propose a simple model of counterfactual explanation. Finally, I investigate how a sophisticated version of the regularity theory of laws of nature (that of Ramsey-Lewis) can be neutral between the empirical hypotheses that the world is unified, and that the world is disunified.
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DOI 10.1080/0269859031000160630
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References found in this work BETA

Counterfactuals.David Kellogg Lewis - 1973 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Blackwell.
How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement.Nancy Cartwright - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
What is a Law of Nature?D. M. Armstrong - 1983 - Cambridge University Press.

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