Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
How the Laws of Physics Lie$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Nancy Cartwright

Print publication date: 1983

Print ISBN-13: 9780198247043

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198247044.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2017. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 12 December 2017

When Explanation Leads to Inference

When Explanation Leads to Inference

Chapter:
(p.87) Essay 5 When Explanation Leads to Inference
Source:
How the Laws of Physics Lie
Author(s):

Nancy Cartwright (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198247044.003.0006

When is it justified to infer from the fact that a theory provides a good explanation of phenomena to the truth of the theory used in explanation (i.e. inference to the best explanation)? Bas van Fraassen and Pierre Duhem's instrumentalism, which demands only that good theories should ‘save the phenomena’, precludes such inferences altogether. However, in cases of inference to the most probable cause, the instrumentalist position excludes too much. In fact, although explanation via well‐tested causal claims does not justify belief in theoretical laws, it does justify belief in the theoretical entities that figure in those claims (i.e. in ‘entity realism’).

Keywords:   Pierre Duhem, entity realism, inference to the best explanation, instrumentalism, save the phenomena

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .