Other Things Being Equal

Paul M. Pietroski

in Causing Actions

Published in print June 2002 | ISBN: 9780199252763
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598234 | DOI:
Other Things Being Equal

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One can often explain the fact that a certain event occurred by citing the occurrence of a prior event, along with a suitable ceteris paribus law. Far from being vacuous, such laws have substantive (and disconfirmable) consequences. Apparent exceptions to a ceteris paribus law must be explicable in terms of real interfering factors—factors we idealize away from, when stating the law. Given the proposed interpretation of such laws, the proposed sufficient condition for explanation (and causation) avoids familiar counterexamples to traditional covering‐law accounts.

Keywords: ceteris paribus; covering laws; exceptions; idealization; interfering factors; laws; vacuity

Chapter.  14618 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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