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Causal Equations without Ceteris Paribus Clauses

Gildenhuys, Peter (2008) Causal Equations without Ceteris Paribus Clauses. [Preprint]

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Some writers have urged that evolutionary theory produces generalizations that hold only ceteris paribus, that is, provided “everything else is equal.” Others have claimed that all laws in the special sciences, or even all laws in science generally, hold only ceteris paribus. However, if we lack a way to determine when everything else really is equal, hedging generalizations with the phrase ceteris paribus renders those generalizations vacuous. I propose a solution to this problem for the case of causal equations from classical population genetics. When coupled with the right proviso, equations in classical population genetics function as strict laws.

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Item Type: Preprint
Gildenhuys, Peter
Keywords: ceteris paribus; natural laws; causation; natural selection; population genetics
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > Laws of Nature
General Issues > Causation
Depositing User: Peter Gildenhuys
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2008
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:17
Item ID: 4335

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