There is No Such Thing as a Ceteris Paribus Law
- Cite this article as:
- Woodward, J. Erkenntnis (2002) 57: 303. doi:10.1023/A:1021578127039
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In this paper I criticize the commonly accepted idea that the generalizations of the special sciences should be construed as ceteris paribus laws. This idea rests on mistaken assumptions about the role of laws in explanation and their relation to causal claims. Moreover, the major proposals in the literature for the analysis of ceteris paribus laws are, on their own terms, complete failures. I sketch a more adequate alternative account of the content of causal generalizations in the special sciences which I argue should replace the ceteris paribus conception.