European Journal for Philosophy of Science

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 385–408 | Cite as

The epistemic account of ceteris paribus conditions

  • Wolfgang SpohnEmail author
Original paper in Formal Epistemology


The paper focuses on interpreting ceteris paribus conditions as normal conditions. After discussing six basic problems for the explication of normal conditions and seven interpretations that do not well solve those problems I turn to what I call the epistemic account. According to it the normal is, roughly, the not unexpected. This is developed into a rigorous constructive account of normal conditions, which makes essential use of ranking theory and in particular allows to explain the phenomenon of multiply exceptional conditions. Finally, this static account is extended to a schematic dynamic model of how we may learn about those normal and (multiply) exceptional conditions.


Ceteris paribus laws Normal conditions Multiple exceptionality Conditional belief Ranking theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of KonstanzKonstanzGermany

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