Authors
David Spurrett
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Abstract
The status of fundamental laws is an important issue when deciding between the three broad ontological options of fundamentalism (of which the thesis that physics is complete is typically a sub-type), emergentism, and disorder or promiscuous realism. Cartwright’s assault on fundamental laws which argues that such laws do not, and cannot, typically state the facts, and hence cannot be used to support belief in a fundamental ontological order, is discussed in this context. A case is made in defence of a moderate form of fundamentalism, which leaves open the possibility of emergentism, but sets itself against the view that our best ontology is disordered. The argument, taking its cue from Bhaskar, relies on a consideration of the epistemic status of experiments, and the question of the possible generality of knowledge gained in unusual or controlled environments.
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DOI 10.1080/02698599908573625
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References found in this work BETA

Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
The Meaning of 'Meaning'.Hillary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement.Nancy Cartwright - 1989 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Cartwright on Laws and Composition.David Spurrett - 2000 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 15 (3):253 – 268.
The Completeness of Physics.David Spurrett - 1999 - Dissertation, University of Natal, Durban

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Similar books and articles

The Completeness of Physics.David Spurrett - 1999 - Dissertation, University of Natal, Durban
How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Cartwright on Laws and Composition.David Spurrett - 2000 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 15 (3):253 – 268.
The Fundamental Laws of Physics Can Tell the Truth.Renat Nugayev - 1991 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 5 (1):79 – 87.

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