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On Component Forces in Physics: A Pragmatic View

In Hsiang-Ke Chao, Julian Reiss & Szu-Ting Chen (eds.), Philosophy of Science in Practice: Nancy Cartwright and the nature of scientific reasoning. (2016)

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  1. Disposition‐Manifestations and Reference‐Frames.Alastair Wilson - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (4):591-601.
    Dispositions can combine as vector sums. Recent authors on dispositions, such as George Molnar and Stephen Mumford, have responded to this feature of dispositions by introducing a distinction between effects and contributions to effects, and by identifying disposition-manifestations with the latter. But some have been sceptical of the reality or knowability of component vectors; Jennifer McKitrick (forthcoming) presses these concerns against the conception of manifestations as contributions to effects. In this paper, I aim to respond to McKitrick's arguments and to (...)
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  • The Causal Argument Against Component Forces.Jessica Wilson - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (4):525-554.
    Do component forces exist in conjoined circumstances? Cartwright (1980) says no; Creary (1981) says yes. I'm inclined towards Cartwright's side in this matter, but find several problems with her argumentation. My primary aim here is to present a better, distinctly causal, argument against component forces: very roughly, I argue that the joint posit of component and resultant forces in conjoined circumstances gives rise to a threat of causal overdetermination, avoidance of which best proceeds via eliminativism about component forces. A secondary (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Forces.Olivier Massin - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (4):555-589.
    This paper defends the view that Newtonian forces are real, symmetrical and non-causal relations. First, I argue that Newtonian forces are real; second, that they are relations; third, that they are symmetrical relations; fourth, that they are not species of causation. The overall picture is anti-Humean to the extent that it defends the existence of forces as external relations irreducible to spatio-temporal ones, but is still compatible with Humean approaches to causation (and others) since it denies that forces are a (...)
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  • Interfering with Nomological Necessity.Markus Schrenk - 2011 - Philosophical Quarterly 61 (244):577-597.
    Since causal processes can be prevented and interfered with, law-governed causation is a challenge for necessitarian theories of laws of nature. To show that there is a problematic friction between necessity and interference, I focus on David Armstrong's theory; with one proviso, his lawmaker, nomological necessity, is supposed to be instantiated as the causation of the law's second relatum whenever its first relatum is instantiated. His proviso is supposed to handle interference cases, but fails to do so. In order to (...)
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  • Language, Truth, and Logic.Alfred Jules Ayer - 1936 - London: V. Gollancz.
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  • How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    In this sequence of philosophical essays about natural science, the author argues that fundamental explanatory laws, the deepest and most admired successes of modern physics, do not in fact describe regularities that exist in nature. Cartwright draws from many real-life examples to propound a novel distinction: that theoretical entities, and the complex and localized laws that describe them, can be interpreted realistically, but the simple unifying laws of basic theory cannot.
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  • The Science of Mechanics. [REVIEW]Ernst Mach - 1893 - Ancient Philosophy (Misc) 4:152.
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  • Cartwright on Laws and Composition.David Spurrett - 2000 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 15 (3):253 – 268.
    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 (...)
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  • Stances and Paradigms: A Reflection.Darrell Patrick Rowbottom - unknown
    This paper compares and contrasts the concept of a stance with that of a paradigm qua disciplinary matrix, in an attempt to illuminate both notions. First, it considers to what extent it is appropriate to draw an analogy between stances and disciplinary matrices. It suggests that despite first appearances, a disciplinary matrix is not simply a stance writ large. Second, it examines how we might reinterpret disciplinary matrices in terms of stances, and shows how doing so can provide us with (...)
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  • The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas Samuel Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    A scientific community cannot practice its trade without some set of received beliefs. These beliefs form the foundation of the "educational initiation that prepares and licenses the student for professional practice". The nature of the "rigorous and rigid" preparation helps ensure that the received beliefs are firmly fixed in the student's mind. Scientists take great pains to defend the assumption that scientists know what the world is like...To this end, "normal science" will often suppress novelties which undermine its foundations. Research (...)
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  • The Mechanization of the World Picture.E. J. Dijksterhuis - 1961 - Clarendon Press.
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  • General Semantics.David K. Lewis - 1970 - Synthese 22 (1-2):18--67.
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  • Operationalism.Hasok Chang - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Causal Realism and the Laws of Nature.Richard Corry - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (3):261-276.
    This paper proposes a revision of our understanding of causation that is designed to address what Hartry Field has suggested is the central problem in the metaphysics of causation today: reconciling Bertrand Russell’s arguments that the concept of causation can play no role in the advanced sciences with Nancy Cartwright’s arguments that causal concepts are essential to a scientific understanding of the world. The paper shows that Russell’s main argument is, ironically, very similar to an argument that Cartwright has put (...)
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  • Do the Laws of Physics State the Facts?Nancy Cartwright - 1980 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 61 (1/2):75.
    The facticity view of fundamental laws of physics takes them to state facts about reality. To preserve the facticity of laws in the face of complex phenomena with multiple intervening factors, composition of causes, often by vector addition, is invoked. However, this addition should be read only as a metaphor, for only the resultant force is real. The truth and the explanatory power of laws can both be preserved by viewing laws as describing causal powers that objects possess, but this (...)
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  • Concepts of Mass in Contemporary Physics and Philosophy.Max Jammer - 2009 - Princeton University Press.
    The concept of mass is one of the most fundamental notions in physics, comparable in importance only to those of space and time. But in contrast to the latter, which are the subject of innumerable physical and philosophical studies, the concept of mass has been but rarely investigated. Here Max Jammer, a leading philosopher and historian of physics, provides a concise but comprehensive, coherent, and self-contained study of the concept of mass as it is defined, interpreted, and applied in contemporary (...)
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  • Causal Explanation and the Reality of Natural Component Forces.Lewis Creary - 1981 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 62 (2):148-157.
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  • Operationalism.D. A. Gillies - 1972 - Synthese 25 (1-2):1 - 24.
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  • Forces.John Bigelow, Brian Ellis & Robert Pargetter - 1988 - Philosophy of Science 55 (4):614-630.
    Traditionally, forces are causes of a special sort. Forces have been conceived to be the direct or immediate causes of things. Other sorts of causes act indirectly by producing forces which are transmitted in various ways to produce various effects. However, forces are supposed to act directly without the mediation of anything else. But forces, so conceived, appear to be occult. They are mysterious, because we have no clear conception of what they are, as opposed to what they are postulated (...)
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  • A Critique of Operationalism in Physics.R. B. Lindsay - 1937 - Philosophy of Science 4 (4):456-470.
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  • Thomas Kuhn.Alexander Bird - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Thomas Samuel Kuhn (1922–1996) is one of the most influential philosophers of science of the twentieth century, perhaps the most influential. His 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is one of the most cited academic books of all time. Kuhn’s contribution to the philosophy of science marked not only a break with several key positivist doctrines, but also inaugurated a new style of philosophy of science that brought it closer to the history of science. His account of the development (...)
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