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Department of Philosophy

Staff

Publication details for Prof Nancy Cartwright

Cartwright, N. (2017). Big Systems Versus Stocky Tangles: It Can Matter to the Details. Erkenntnis

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Wolfgang Spohn’s Frege prize lecture, like the work on which it is based,
is a tour de force of rich, elegant, coherent argument about how the projected world
that we experience is constructed. But we do not live in this projected world nor
reason about it. The things Spohn constructs are there from the start—or so my
Stanford School pragmatism teaches. This paper explores a deep difference in
philosophical approaches—Spohn’s elegant proofs versus the stocky, tangled
arguments I advocate—and illustrates how these play out in far more detailed
disputes about the nature of causality and causal inference.