Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement

Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement

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This book argues for the place of capacities within an grounds of meaning, not method. Yet it is questions of method that should concern the modern empiricist: can capacities be measured? Cartwright argues that they are measured if anything is. Stanford University's Gravity-Probe-B will measure capacities in a cryogenic dewar deep in space. More mundanely, we use probabilities to measure capacities, and the assumptions required to ensure that probabilities are a
reliable instrument are investigated in the opening chapters of this book, where the early methods of econometrics set a model. The last chapter applies lessons about probabilities and capacities to quantum mechanics and the Bell inequalities. The central thesis throughout is that capacities not
only can be admitted by empiricists, but indeed must be - otherwise the empirical methods of modern science will make no sense.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 278 pages
  • 139 x 217 x 18mm | 416g
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • line figures throughout
  • 0198235070
  • 9780198235071
  • 932,547

Table of contents

How to get causes from probabilities; No causes in; no causes out; Singular causes first; Capacities; Abstract and concrete; What econometrics can teach quantum physics: causality and the Bell inequality
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Review quote

an interesting and original contribution to the realist argument"L.Jonathan Cohen, Times Higher Education Supplment an extremely important and worthwhile book. Cartwright has ventured into exciting but largely unknown philosophical terrain ... all philosophers of causation will profit greatly from her explorations ... she has introduced a number of important new strands to the theory of causation ... [the] wealth of detail gives the book a depth of purpose which is rare in the philosophy of science. * British Journal for the Philosophy of Science *
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