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

How the Laws of Physics Lie

Nancy Cartwright


Nancy Cartwright argues for a novel conception of the role of fundamental scientific laws in modern natural science. If we attend closely to the manner in which theoretical laws figure in the practice of science, we see that despite their great explanatory power these laws do not describe reality. Instead, fundamental laws describe highly idealized objects in models. Thus, the correct account of explanation in science is not the traditional covering law view, but the ‘simulacrum’ account. On this view, explanation is a matter of constructing a model that may employ, but need not be consistent ... More

Keywords: covering law, entity realism, explanation in science, models, realism, scientific laws, simulacrum

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 1983 Print ISBN-13: 9780198247043
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003 DOI:10.1093/0198247044.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Nancy Cartwright, author
Stanford University, California
Author Webpage