Journal Article

Realization, completers, and <i>ceteris paribus</i> laws in psychology

Robert D. Rupert

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 58, issue 1, pages 1-11
Published in print March 2007 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online February 2007 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI:
Realization, completers, and ceteris paribus laws in psychology

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I defend Jerry Fodor's ([1991]) account of the semantics of ceteris paribus laws against an objection raised by Peter Mott ([1992]). In doing so, I clarify certain issues regarding the nature of realization. I argue that not all things that realize a state or property are realizers of that state or property: the relation x realizes y tolerates the inclusion of gratuitous elements in x— elements that play no particular role in the realization of y— whereas the relation x is a realizer of y does not. I then criticize a rejoinder that, in effect, builds such gratuitous elements into the antecedents of the laws of a science of the realized properties.

Fodor's Proposal

Mott's Objection

Conjunctive States, Realization, and Minimal Realization

Mixed Antecedents

Journal Article.  4893 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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