The causal argument against component forces

Dialectica 63 (4):525-554 (2009)
Do component forces exist in conjoined circumstances? Cartwright (1980) says no; Creary (1981) says yes. I'm inclined towards Cartwright's side in this matter, but find several problems with her argumentation. My primary aim here is to present a better, distinctly causal, argument against component forces: very roughly, I argue that the joint posit of component and resultant forces in conjoined circumstances gives rise to a threat of causal overdetermination, avoidance of which best proceeds via eliminativism about component forces. A secondary aim is to show that rejecting component forces does not require, pace Cartwright, rejecting certain attractive theses about what laws of nature express and the role such laws play in scientific explanations.
Keywords forces  Newtonian mechanics  causal exclusion  component forces  resultant forces
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2010
DOI 10.1111/j.1746-8361.2009.01216.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 25,687
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
Eliminative Materialism and the Propositional Attitudes.Paul M. Churchland - 1981 - Journal of Philosophy 78 (February):67-90.

View all 28 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
The Metaphysics of Forces.Olivier Massin - 2009 - Dialectica 64 (4):555-589.
Is Genetic Drift a Force?Charles H. Pence - forthcoming - Synthese:1-22.
Derivative Properties in Fundamental Laws.Michael Townsen Hicks & Jonathan Schaffer - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv039.
The Composition of Forces.Olivier Massin - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv048.
A Non-Reductive Model of Component Forces and Resultant Force.Dwayne Moore - 2012 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 26 (4):359-380.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

201 ( #19,025 of 2,146,210 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #120,661 of 2,146,210 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums