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Models: The Blueprints for Laws

Cartwright, N.

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In this paper the claim that laws of nature are to be understood as claims about what necessarily or reliably happens is disputed. Laws can characterize what happens in a reliable way, but they do not do this easily. We do not have laws for everything occurring in the world, but only for those situations where what happens in nature is represented by a model: models are blueprints for nomological machines, which in turn give rise to laws. An example from economics shows, in particular, how we use--and how we need to use--models to get probabilistic laws.


Cartwright, N. (1997). Models: The Blueprints for Laws. Philosophy of Science, 64, S292-S303.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 1, 1997
Deposit Date Sep 24, 2015
Publicly Available Date Jul 27, 2016
Journal Philosophy of Science
Print ISSN 0031-8248
Publisher Philosophy of Science Association
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 64
Pages S292-S303


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