Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Description: A. Characterization of singular objects or events instead of giving a name. As opposed to names descriptions are not rigid, i.e. they may refer to different objects in different worlds. - B. Linguistic form for attributing predicates according to the perceptions of objects. See also rigidity, theory of descriptions.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Nancy Cartwright on Descriptions - Dictionary of Arguments

I 3
Explanation/Description/Physics/Cartwright: in modern physics the phenomenological laws are considered as being descriptive, the fundamental laws as being explanatory.
Problem: the explanatory power comes at the cost of the adequacy of description
Explanatory power (of laws) The semblance of truth comes from a false explanation model: wrong connection of laws with reality.
I 4
Cartwright instead:
Def "Simulacrum" View/Cartwright: of explanation: Thesis: the way from theory to reality is this:
theory > model > phenomenological law

Phenomenological Laws/Cartwright: are true of the objects of reality (or can be).
Fundamental Laws/Cartwright: are only true of the objects in the model. >Fundamental laws/Cartwright.
Explanation/Cartwright: is not a guide to the truth.
I 57
Description/Laws of Nature/LoN/Physical Laws/Cartwright: E.g. the gravitation law does not describe the behavior of the objects, because electrical forces also play a role - (Coulomb's law) - no charged body behaves according to the gravitation law.
And every massive body is a counter-E.g. to Coulomb's law.
Solution: "... if no other forces..." - without ceteris paribus. >ceteris paribus.
I 131
Description/Physics/Cartwright: false: that we have to depart from existence assumptions to come to a description according to which we can set up the equations.
Correct: the theory has only few principles to move from descriptions to equations - these principles certainly require structured information. - And the "descriptions" on the right side have to satisfy many mathematical requirements. >Equations, >Principles.
The best descriptions are those that best match the equations.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Car I
N. Cartwright
How the laws of physics lie Oxford New York 1983

CartwrightR I
R. Cartwright
A Neglected Theory of Truth. Philosophical Essays, Cambridge/MA pp. 71-93
Theories of Truth, Paul Horwich, Aldershot 1994

CartwrightR II
R. Cartwright
Ontology and the theory of meaning Chicago 1954

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2023-06-06
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