Chapter

Fitting Facts to Equations

Nancy Cartwright

in How the Laws of Physics Lie

Published in print June 1983 | ISBN: 9780198247043
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597152 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198247044.003.0008
 Fitting Facts to Equations

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Are things in the real world governed by the mathematical equations of fundamental theories in physics? If we take seriously the practice of fitting facts into equations, the answer should be no. To give a mathematical description of a real phenomenon requires bridge principles. However, given the constraints of theory, even these employ highly idealized fictional objects and processes, more akin to artful theatrical distortions than to true descriptions of things in the world.

Keywords: bridge principles; idealized objects; fictional objects; mathematical equations in physics

Chapter.  5416 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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