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There is No Such Thing as a Ceteris Paribus Law

Woodward, Jim (2002) There is No Such Thing as a Ceteris Paribus Law. Erkenntnis, 57 (3). pp. 303-328. ISSN 0165-0106. doi:10.1023/a:1021578127039.

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In this paper I criticize the commonly accepted idea that the generalizations of the special sciences should be construed as ceteris paribus laws. This idea rests on mistaken assumptions about the role of laws in explanation and their relation to causal claims. Moreover, the major proposals in the literature for the analysis of ceteris paribus laws are, on their own terms, complete failures. I sketch a more adequate alternative account of the content of causal generalizations in the special sciences which I argue should replace the ceteris paribus conception.

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Additional Information:© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002. Thanks to Alan Hajek, Chris Hitchcock, and Jesse Prinz for helpful comments and discussion.
Subject Keywords:Special Science; Causal Claim; Birth Control Pill; Causal Generalization; Causal Markov Condition
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190828-102317923
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Official Citation:Woodward, J. Erkenntnis (2002) 57: 303.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:98301
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:28 Aug 2019 18:12
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:38

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