Aristotelian Natures and the Modern Experimental Method
Cartwright (Nancy)
Source: Earman (John), Ed. - Inference, Explanation and Other Philosophical Frustrations
Paper - Abstract

Paper Summary

Editor’s Introduction1

  1. According to the textbooks, modern science eschews Aristotelian natures in favor of laws of nature construed as codifications of regularities. In her provocative contribution Nancy Cartwright contends that this common wisdom is flawed, for in her view laws of nature are about natures. Thus, for Cartwright. Newton's law of gravitation doesn't say what forces bodies actually experience but rather what forces it is their nature, as massive objects, to experience.
  2. The exceptionless regularities required by the empiricist account are rarely found, she contends, and where they are found they result from arrangements that allow stable natures to be manifested. Cartwright supports her neo-Aristotelian conception of laws by arguing that it makes more sense of experimental methodology and inductive procedures than the more popular empiricist view.


Part I - Inference and Method

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Taken from "Earman (John) - Inference, Explanation and Other Philosophical Frustrations: Introduction".

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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