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Laws, Mind, and Free Will$
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Steven Horst

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015257

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015257.001.0001

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Cartwright, Universal Laws, and Fundamentalism

Cartwright, Universal Laws, and Fundamentalism

(p.36) (p.37) 4 Cartwright, Universal Laws, and Fundamentalism
Laws, Mind, and Free Will

Steven Horst

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses the Davidsonian Problematic for the philosophy of psychology in terms of a contrast between two types of laws as discussed in the previous chapter—“strict and exceptionless” laws and laws protected by ceteris paribus clauses. It focuses on what these laws actually amount to and whether a substantive assumption about the nature of laws is lurking under the guise of an innocuous distinction. Nancy Cartwright has argued that the interpretation of laws received from the Positivists is fundamentally flawed. She has posited that individual laws give us partial understandings of the world which are not ultimately integrated into a single omnipotent view that embraces them all as a common denominator, but rather, remain a dappled collage. Further, Cartwright has stated that laws do not yield accurate descriptions or predictions of the actual behavior of objects.

Keywords:   philosophy of psychology, Davidsonian Problematic, nature of laws, Nancy Cartwright, Positivists, individual laws, partial understandings, dappled collage

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