Ideas of Nancy Cartwright, by Theme

[American, b.1943, Professor at the London School of Economics.]

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7. Existence / E. Categories / 4. Category Realism
Causality indicates which properties are real
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 1. Scientific Theory
Theories can never represent accurately, because their components are abstract
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / a. Types of explanation
Two main types of explanation are by causes, or by citing a theoretical framework
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / c. Explanations by coherence
An explanation is a model that fits a theory and predicts the phenomenological laws
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / d. Lawlike explanations
Laws get the facts wrong, and explanation rests on improvements and qualifications of laws
The covering law view assumes that each phenomenon has a 'right' explanation
Laws apply to separate domains, but real explanations apply to intersecting domains
Covering-law explanation lets us explain storms by falling barometers
I disagree with the covering-law view that there is a law to cover every single case
You can't explain one quail's behaviour by just saying that all quails do it
14. Science / D. Explanation / 3. Best Explanation / c. Against best explanation
In science, best explanations have regularly turned out to be false
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 2. Particular Causation / e. Probabilistic causation
A cause won't increase the effect frequency if other causes keep interfering
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 2. Types of Laws
There are fundamental explanatory laws (false!), and phenomenological laws (regularities)
Laws of appearances are 'phenomenological'; laws of reality are 'theoretical'
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 4. Regularities / b. Best system theory
Good organisation may not be true, and the truth may not organise very much
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 12. Against Laws of Nature
To get from facts to equations, we need a prepared descriptions suited to mathematics
There are few laws for when one theory meets another
Simple laws have quite different outcomes when they act in combinations