When Other Things Aren’t Equal: Saving Ceteris Paribus Laws from Vacuity


Authors
Paul Pietroski
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Abstract
A common view is that ceteris paribus clauses render lawlike statements vacuous, unless such clauses can be explicitly reformulated as antecedents of ?real? laws that face no counterinstances. But such reformulations are rare; and they are not, we argue, to be expected in general. So we defend an alternative sufficient condition for the non-vacuity of ceteris paribus laws: roughly, any counterinstance of the law must be independently explicable, in a sense we make explicit. Ceteris paribus laws will carry a plethora of explanatory commitments; and claims that such commitments are satisfied will be as (dis) confirmable as other empirical claims
Keywords Clause  Empiricism  Laws  Science
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DOI 10.1093/bjps/46.1.81
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A Better Best System Account of Lawhood.Jonathan Cohen & Craig Callender - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 145 (1):1 - 34.
Ceteris Paribus Conditionals and Comparative Normalcy.Martin Smith - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 36 (1):97-121.

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