Cartwright on laws and composition

International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 15 (3):253 – 268 (2000)
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Abstract

Cartwright attempts to argue from an analysis of the composition of forces, and more generally the composition of laws, to the conclusion that laws must be regarded as false. A response to Cartwright is developed which contends that properly understood composition poses no threat to the truth of laws, even though agreeing with Cartwright that laws do not satisfy the "facticity" requirement. My analysis draws especially on the work of Creary, Bhaskar, Mill, and points towards a general rejection of Cartwright's view that laws, especially fundamental laws, should be seen as false.

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David Spurrett
University of KwaZulu-Natal

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