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 [Portides]
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 / e. Lawlike explanations
Laws get the facts wrong, and explanation rests on improvements and qualifications of laws
Laws apply to separate domains, but real explanations apply to intersecting domains
The covering law view assumes that each phenomenon has a 'right' explanation
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 / 8. 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) [Bird]
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 / 11. 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