Ceterus Paribus Laws

Ceteris Paribus Laws and the Human Sciences
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In order to trace Fresnel's Laws across significant ontological changes, they must be followed past Einstein into modern physics and nonlinear optics. I develop the philosophical implications of a more accurate history, and analyze Fresnel's Laws' historical trajectory in terms of dynamic ceteris paribus clauses. Structuralists have not embraced ceteris paribus laws, but they continue to point to Fresnel's Laws to resist anti-realist arguments from theory change.

Fresnel's Laws fit the standard definition of a ceteris paribus law as a law applicable only in particular circumstances. Realists who appeal to the historical continuity of Fresnel's Laws to combat anti-realists must incorporate ceteris paribus laws into their metaphysics. This article maintains that an important class of scientific generalizations should be reinterpreted: they have typically been understood as ceteris paribus laws, but are, in fact, generics.

Four arguments are presented to support this thesis. One argument is that the interpretation in terms of ceteris paribus laws is a historical accident. The other three arguments draw on similarities between these generalizations and archetypal generics: they come with similar inferential commitments, they share a syntactic form, and the existing theories to make Once these generalizations are properly understood as generics, the recent cognitive approach to generics can be extended to the study of the relevant sciences.

The last section indicates ways in which this extension is fruitful for the two strands of research that we combine: the philosophy of science literature on generalizations and the semantics literature on generics. Generics in Philosophy of Language.

Ceteris Paribus Laws and the Human Sciences

In this paper I argue that even if this is true, fundamental laws in physics still pose a major challenge to standard Humean approaches to lawhood, as they A Humean approach to physical laws with exceptions is possible, however, if we adopt a view of laws that takes them to be the algorithms in the algorithmic compressions of empirical data. When this is supplemented with a distinction between lossy and lossless compression, we can explain exceptions in terms of compression artefacts present in the application of the lossy laws. Computational Philosophy in Metaphilosophy. Software in Philosophy of Computing and Information.

Philosophers sometimes claim that economics, and the idealizing strategies it employs, is ultimately unable to provide genuine laws of nature. Therefore, unlike physics, it does not qualify as an actual science. Careful consideration of thermodynamics, a well-developed physical theory, reveals substantial parallels with economic methodology.

The corrective account of scientific understanding I offer appreciates these parallels: understanding in terms of efficient performance. Gerhard Schurz [, Journal for General Philosophy of Science, 32, ] has proposed to reconstruct auxiliary hypothesis addition, e.

However, the non-monotonous reconstruction retains the observational premise that is indeed rejected in the deductive model. Hence, his proposal fails to do justice to Lakatos' core-belt model, therefore fails to meet what Schurz coined It is argued that Lakatos's distinction between core and belt of a research program is not mapable onto premise-set and consequence-set and that Schurz's understanding of a ceteris paribus clause as a transfinite list of interfering factors is problematic.

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I propose a simple reading of Lakatos's use of the term ceteris paribus clause and motivate why the term hypothesis addition, despite not being interpretable literally, came to be entrenched. Confirmation in General Philosophy of Science.

Research Programs in General Philosophy of Science. Science, Logic, and Mathematics. Many have claimed that ceteris paribus laws are a quite legitimate feature of scientific theories, some even going so far as to claim that laws of all scientific theories currently on offer are merely CP. We argue here that one of the common props of such a thesis, that there are numerous examples of CP laws in physics, is false.

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Moreover, besides the absence of genuine examples from physics, we suggest that otherwise unproblematic claims are rendered untestable by the mere Ceteris-paribus clauses are nothing to worry about; a ceteris-paribus qualifier is not poisonously indeterminate in meaning. Ceteris-paribus laws teach us that a law need not be associated straightforwardly with a regularity in the manner demanded by regularity analyses of law and analyses of laws as relations among universals.

This lesson enables us to understand the sense in which the laws of nature would have been no different under various counterfactual suppositions -- a feature even of those laws that involve no Ceteris-paribus generalizations of an 'inexact science' qualify as laws of that science in virtue of their distinctive relation to counterfactuals: they form a set that is stable for the purposes of that field.

The stability of an inexact science's laws may involve their remaining reliable even under certain counterfactual suppositions violating fundamental laws of physics. The ceteris-paribus laws of an inexact science may thus possess a kind of necessity lacking in the fundamental laws of physics. A nomological explanation supplied by an inexact science would then be irreducible to an explanation of the same phenomenon at the level of fundamental physics.

Island biogeography is used to illustrate how a special science could be autonomous in this manner. It has been suggested that a functionalist understanding of the metaphysics of psychological typing eliminates the prospect for psychological laws. Kim, Millikan, and Shapiro have each separately argued that, if psychological types as functional types are multiply realized, then the diversity of realizing mechanisms demonstrates that there can be no laws of psychology.

Additionally, Millikan has argued that the role of functional attribution in the explanation of historical kinds limits the formulation of psychological principles to particular taxa; hence, psychological laws Both arguments against the possibility of psychological laws, I want to suggest, only succeed at showing that certain types of empirical principles will not be laws. I will suggest that a further type of empirical principle, grounded in the general constraints on the sustainability of population types, remains in the running as a candidate law.

Importantly, the formulation of these principles presupposes a functionalist understanding of psychological typing. Psychological Laws in Philosophy of Cognitive Science. The use of ceteris paribus clauses in philosophy and in the sciences has a long and fascinating history. Remove from this list. Space and Time in Philosophy of Physical Science.

Daniel Steel

The question of meaning is connected to the problem of empirical content, i.e., the question whether ceteris paribus laws have non-trivial and. Ceteris paribus or caeteris paribus is a Latin phrase meaning "other things equal" ; English as biology, psychology, and economics, tend to state laws that hold true in normal conditions but have exceptions: ceteris paribus laws (cp laws).

This essay defends the role of law-like explanation in the social sciences by showing that the "argument from complexity" fails to demonstrate a difference in kind between the subject matter of natural and social science. There are problems internal to the argument itself - stemming from reliance on an overly idealized view of natural scientific practice - and reason to think that, based upon an analogy with a more sophisticated understanding of natural science, which makes use of "redescriptions" in the For instance, the claim that a contingent fact of history which has created planet Jupiter enables shielding of Earth from most dangerous impact catastrophes, thus increasing I argue that this reasoning is deeply flawed, for several closely related reasons.

In addition, the relevance of the philosophical problem of transworld identity for this kind of historical reasoning in science is put forward. This highlights many explanatory problems one faces when using historical counterfactuals in study of complex, nonlinear dynamical systems — and bolsters the relevance of philosophy for evaluation of scientific explanatory claims.

Both challenge advocates of accounts of scientific theories involving laws understood as universal generalizations, and they have been treated as identical problems. Earman and Roberts argue that the problems are distinct. I then describe the relationship between the problems attributed to the clauses, suggesting that they form a I defend the prospect of good science in the social sciences by looking at the obstacles to social laws. I criticize traditional approaches, which rule for or against social laws on primarily conceptual grounds, and argue that only a close analysis of actual empirical research can decide the issue.

To that end, I focus on problems caused by the ceteris paribus nature of social generalizations, outline a variety of ways those problems might be handled, and then examine in detail the Paige's work, I argue, handles its problems roughly as well as does some of the best work in evolutionary biology. The upshot is that some social laws can be relatively well confirmed. The semantics for counterfactuals due to David Lewis has been challenged by appealing to miracles. Miracles may skew a given similarity order in favour of those possible worlds which exhibit them.

Lewis responded with a system of priorities that mitigates the significance of miracles when constructing similarity relations.

By analysing the couterfactuals with a ceteris paribus clause one forces out, in a natural manner, those possible If no world can satisfy the ceteris paribus clause in its entirety, then prioritisation is triggered to select worlds that maximise agreement on those things which are favoured most. Logic and Philosophy of Logic. Special science generalizations admit of exceptions. Among the class of non-exceptionless special science generalizations, I distinguish minutis rectis generalizations from the more familiar category of ceteris paribus generalizations.

I argue that the challenges involved in showing that mr generalizations can play the law role are underappreciated, and quite different from those involved in showing that cp generalizations can do so. I outline a strategy for meeting the challenges posed by mr generalizations. This paper concerns the relationship between dispositions and ceteris paribus laws.

There is No Such Thing as a Ceteris Paribus Law

Dispositions are related to conditionals. Typically a fragile glass will break if struck with force. But possession of the disposition does not entail the corresponding simple conditional. The phenomena of finks and antidotes show that an object may possess the disposition without the conditional being true.

Finks and antidotes may be thought of as exceptions to the straightforward relation between disposition and conditional. The existence of these phenomena is easy But do they exist at the fundamental level also? While fundamental finkish dispositions may be excluded fairly straightforwardly, the existence of fundamental antidotes is more open. Nonetheless I conclude that the phenomenon is likely to be less widespread than at the macro level and that fundamental antidotes may be eliminable. According to the dispositional essentialist, the laws of nature can be explained by taking natural properties to be essentially dispositional.

What is CETERIS PARIBUS? What does CETERIS PARIBUS mean? CETERIS PARIBUS meaning & explanation

This account can be extended to show that the existence of finks and antidotes explains ceteris paribus laws. Consequently the existence or otherwise of fundamental finks and antidotes sheds some light on the question of whether fundamental laws may also be ceteris paribus laws. It is often claimed that the bulk of the laws of physics -- including such venerable laws as Universal Gravitation -- are violated in many circumstances because they have counter-instances that result when a system is not isolated from other systems.

Various accounts of how one should interpret these violated laws have been provided. In this paper, I examine two accounts of violated laws, that they are merely ceteris paribus laws and that they are manifestations of capacities. Through an examination Along the way, I am able to diagnose what has led to the mistaken belief: I show that it originates from an element of the standard empiricist conception of laws.

The Role of Kinds in the Semantics of Ceteris Paribus Laws

I then evaluate the suggestions of how to interpret violated laws with respect to other examples and find them wanting there too. Standard objections to the notion of a hedged, or ceteris paribus, law of nature usually boil down to the claim that such laws would be either 1 irredeemably vague, 2 untestable, 3 vacuous, 4 false, or a combination thereof.

Using epidemiological studies in nutrition science as an example, I show that this is not true of the hedged law-like generalizations derived from data models used to interpret large and varied sets of empirical observations.

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I close with the suggestion that a model-theoretic approach to cp-laws poses a problem for recent attempts to formulate a Mill-Ramsey-Lewis theory of cp-laws. According to an objection by Kripke, further elaborated in Kusch —, , semantic dispositionalism involves ceteris paribus-clauses and idealisations, such as unbounded memory, that deviate from standard scientific methodology. I argue that Kusch misrepresents both ceteris paribus-laws and idealisation, neither of which factually "approximate" the behaviour of agents or the course of events, An analysis of current results in cognitive psychology vindicates the idealisations involved and certain counterfactual assumptions in science generally.

In particular, results suggest that there can be causal continuity between the dispositional structure of actual objects and that of highly idealised objects. I conclude by suggesting that we can assimilate ceteris paribus-laws with disposition ascriptions insofar as they involve identical idealising assumptions. The discovery of high-level causal relations seems a central activity of the special sciences. Those same sciences are less successful in formulating strict laws.

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Paige's work, I argue, handles its problems roughly as well as does some of the best work in evolutionary biology. What would the world then have been like? See my The received wisdom identifies several functions distinctively performed by laws, including supporting counterfactuals, grounding explanations, and being inductively projected from observed instances. Take the counterfactual suppositions p that are logically consistent with every member of the set. JavaScript is disabled for your browser.

If causation must be underwritten by strict laws, we are faced with a puzzle, which might be dubbed the 'no strict laws' problem for high-level causation. Attempts have been made to dissolve this problem by showing that leading theories of causation do not in fact require that causation be underwritten by strict laws. But this conclusion has Philosophers have tended to equate non-strict laws with ceteris paribus laws.