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The Dappled World
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  • Page extent: 260 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.39 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 501
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: Q175 .C37 1999
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Science--Methodology
    • Science--Philosophy
    • Physics--Methodology
    • Communication--Social aspects
    • Knowledge, Sociology of

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521644112 | ISBN-10: 0521644119)

It is often supposed that the spectacular successes of our modern mathematical sciences support a lofty vision of a world completely ordered by one single elegant theory. In this book Nancy Cartwright argues to the contrary. When we draw our image of the world from the way modern science works - as empiricism teaches us we should - we end up with a world where some features are precisely ordered, others are given to rough regularity and still others behave in their own diverse ways. This patchwork makes sense when we realise that laws are very special productions of nature, requiring very special arrangements for their generation. Combining classic and newly written essays on physics and economics, The Dappled World carries important philosophical consequences and offers serious lessons for both the natural and the social sciences.

• Cartwright is one of the most distinguished philosophers of science writing today • Style is philosophical, but not technical • Of interest to philosophers of the natural and social sciences and also to general philosophers


Introduction; Part I. Where Do Laws of Nature Come From?: 1. Fundamentalism versus the patchwork of laws; 2. Fables and models; 3. Nomological machines and the laws they produce; Part II. Laws and their Limits: 4. Aristotelian natures and the modern experimental method; 5. Causal diversity, causal stability; 6. Ceteris paribus laws and the socio-economic machines; 7. Probability machines: chance set-ups and economic models; Part III. The Boundaries of Quantum and Classical Physics and the Territories they Share: 8. How bridge principles set the domain of quantum theory; 9. How quantum and classical theories relate.


'Written with a literary sensitivity, knocks numerous nails square on the head … provides a wonderful antidote to the abundant quack-medicine views of what science is and an excellent example of progress in philosophical thought.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

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