Lecture 010



Carl Hempel's Natural Law

Like physics, using initial condition and exception-less natural law to predict event in the world.

Kincaid's Approach

Natural Law: a specification of causal factors and their effects

Arguments about Social Science

Laws must have false assumptions
or else it is not elegant because it can't make "extend" of other laws

Example: idea gass law

tautology: true by definition

Mathmatically thinking, scientific theories are functions that map phenomenons into phenomenons, with some constraints on the input phenomenon (that is never true). To use such function, the client should segment out input that meet the requirement, and assemble them afterward.



  1. In the context of Kincaid's article, the term "law" is used such that laws are not necessarily exception-less. However, laws can be exception-less with a "ceteris paribus" qualifier (page 179). Kincaid argues that if a law does not claim "regularity without exception", then there is no need to cite "ceteris paribus" for a law (page 179-180). I think this is a reasonable argument because, from observation, most of the laws assumes idealized observation (a false assumption), and therefore those laws are only be generalizable to larger context (ie. useful even without false assumptions) by adding other constraints such as "ceteris paribus" in order to maintain its validity of being "regularity without exception". According to the reasoning above, Kincaid rejects the strategy of claiming that laws in the social science are "ceteris paribus" laws because the laws themselves does not claim "regularity without exception" in the first place. Therefore, these laws do not need "ceteris paribus" to constrain them.

  2. Why "exceptionless" is mistaken? compelling?

  3. laws make false assumptions (idealized observation) that can never be true in reality.

?3. explanation & prediction, better way to think about law?

If only every social phenomenons is decided by human, then free will prevents possibility of social theory

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