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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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Laws and Idealization

Laws and Idealization

(p.61) 6 Laws and Idealization
Laws, Mind, and Free Will

Steven Horst

The MIT Press

This chapter outlines a view of laws that will capture what was right about Nancy Cartwright's analysis, but also move beyond it. In its basic orientation, the view is cognitivist, pragmatist, and pluralist. It is cognitivist in that it looks at laws as they are encountered within the cognitive task of modeling features of the world. The view is pragmatist in that modeling is viewed as a kind of action performed by a thinking organism in ways which seek to optimize particular interests. It is pluralist in that it ends up taking the view that our scientific understanding consists of an ability to understand the world through multiple models and to find practical connections between them, rather than an ability to understand the world by unifying multiple models into a single self-evident system. The view is part of a larger one that the author has dubbed Cognitive Pluralism.

Keywords:   cognitivist, pragmatist, pluralist, Cartwright, thinking organism, scientific understanding, Cognitive Pluralism

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