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Department of Philosophy

Staff

Publication details for Prof Nancy Cartwright

Cartwright, N. (1997). Models: The Blueprints for Laws. Philosophy of Science 64: S292-S303.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

In this paper the claim that laws of nature are to be understood as claims about what necessarily or reliably happens is disputed. Laws can characterize what happens in a reliable way, but they do not do this easily. We do not have laws for everything occurring in the world, but only for those situations where what happens in nature is represented by a model: models are blueprints for nomological machines, which in turn give rise to laws. An example from economics shows, in particular, how we use--and how we need to use--models to get probabilistic laws.

Notes

Published by University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Philosophy of Science Association