Ceteris paribus laws: Classification and deconstruction [Book Review]

Erkenntnis 57 (3):351Ð372 (2002)
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Abstract

It has not been sufficiently considered in philosophical discussions of ceteris paribus (CP) laws that distinct kinds of CP-laws exist in science with rather different meanings. I distinguish between (1.) comparative CP-laws and (2.) exclusive CP-laws. There exist also mixed CP-laws, which contain a comparative and an exclusive CP-clause. Exclusive CP-laws may be either (2.1) definite, (2.2) indefinite or (2.3) normic. While CP-laws of kind (2.1) and (2.2) exhibit deductivistic behaviour, CP-laws of kind (2.3) require a probabilistic or non-monotonic reconstruction. CP-laws of kind (1) may be both deductivistic or probabilistic. All these kinds of CP-laws have empirical content by which they are testable, except CP-laws of kind (2.2) which are almost vacuous. Typically, CP-laws of kind (1) express invariant correlations, CP-laws of kind (2.1) express closed system laws of physical sciences, and CP-laws of kind (2.3) express normic laws of non-physical sciences based on evolution-theoretic stability properties.

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Gerhard Schurz
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf

References found in this work

How the laws of physics lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Nature's capacities and their measurement.Nancy Cartwright - 1989 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Falsification and the Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes.Imre Lakatos - 1970 - In Imre Lakatos & Alan Musgrave (eds.), Criticism and the growth of knowledge. Cambridge [Eng.]: Cambridge University Press. pp. 91-196.

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