© James Sheppard 2014
This paper offers an analysis of the arguments between fundamentalists and the claims made by Nancy Cartwright in The Dappled World. I start by introducing the arguments of fundamentalists through the work of Carl Hoefer, and go on to discuss Cartwright’s patchwork theory of laws, which is opposed to fundamentalism. Cartwright argues that the fundamentalists cannot claim that laws can be generalized, while the fundamentalists insist that they can make such claims. I will argue that this conflict between both sides places each side in the same epistemological boat. Once we recognize that both views are in the same boat, it is easier to distinguish which view is better, instead of attempting to prove that one view is superior to the other outright. I will argue that fundamentalism has the upper had in this debate, because this view allows for both theoretical and practical advances to be made in science and technology, while Cartwright’s view only advances the practical applications of current science. Cartwright’s arguments against fundamentalism will also be shown to ask too much of Hoefer and the fundamentalists, specifically with her F=ma example. Finally, I will show that fundamentalism can accomplish everything Cartwright’s patchwork theory can and more.
Sheppard, James (2014) "Fundamentalism Against the Patchwork Theory of Laws," Res Cogitans: Vol. 5: Iss. 1, Article 5. http://dx.doi.org/10.7710/2155-4838.1097