In this sequence of philosophical essays about natural science, Nancy Cartwright argues that fundamental explanatory laws, the deepest and most admired successes of modern physics, do not in fact describe the regularities that exist in nature. Yet she is not `anti-realist'. Rather, she draws a novel distinction, arguing that theoretical entities, and the complex and localized laws that describe them, can be interpreted realistically, but that the simple unifying
laws of basic theory cannot.
`The issues raised are very important and highly controversial ... I believe the book to be of importance in inviting philosophers to take a new look at the way physics is actually done, and what their reaction to that practice might be.' M. L. G. Redhead, Philosophical Quarterly
`A significant addition to the literature. The central thesis is novel, the argumentation lively and forceful, the book is rich in material drawn from the actual explanatory practices of scientists.' W. H. Newton-Smith, Times Literary Supplement
`The author introduces fresh ideas about every topic she discusses. Any philosopher will learn from this book, and will enjoy it as well.' Geoffrey Joseph, Philosophical Review