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Cartwright, Nancy (1943–)

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


American philosopher of science, born in Pennsylvania, Professor at Stanford University and the London School of Economics. Cartwright's philosophy of science derives from her detailed understanding of scientific practice. She is a realist about scientific entities and their capacities, but rejects realism about scientific laws and models. The real causal powers of entities, therefore, have precedence over imperfect causal generalizations. She has also argued against the need for a single theoretical structure for science and holds that science can better be seen as a patchwork, with different theories developed in different fields. Her major works include How the Laws of Physics Lie (1983), Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement (1989), and The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science (1999). ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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