Professor Nancy Cartwright

Professor Nancy Cartwright

Research Associate, Project Leader

Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS)

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About me

Nancy Cartwright is Professor of Philosophy at the Department of Philosophy, University of Durham and at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). She is past President of the Philosophy of Science Association and was President of the American Philosophical Association (Pacific Division) in 2008.

Professor Cartwright is also co-Director of the Centre for Humanities Engaging Science and Society (CHESS) in the Department of Philosophy.

Her research interests include philosophy and history of science (especially physics and economics), causal inference, causal powers, scientific emergence and objectivity, evidence, especially for evidence-based policy [EBP] and the philosophy of social technology. Her current work, for the project ‘Knowledge for Use’ [K4U], investigates how to use scientific research results for better policies. She is a member of the UK voluntary research network Policy Insight, which ‘aims to develop a new methodology for policy formulation, deliberation, evaluation and choice.’ She has worked with others on projects in this area on education, child protection and international development.

Professor Cartwright has written a number of books: How the Laws of Physics Lie (1983), Nature's Capacities and their Measurement (1989), Otto Neurath: Philosophy between Science and Politics [with J Cat, K Fleck & T Uebel] (1995), The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science (1999), Measuring Causes: Invariance, Modularity and the Causal Markov Condition (2000), Hunting Causes and Using Them (2007), Causal Powers: What Are They? Why Do We Need Them? What Can be Done with Them and What Cannot (2007 Evidence Based Policy: A Practical Guide to Doing it Better [with Jeremy Hardie] (2012), ),  Evidence: For Policy and Wheresoever Rigor is a Must (2013), and she has co-edited three collections: Rethinking Order: After the Laws of Nature [with K Ward] (forthcoming), Philosophy of Social Science: A New Introduction [with Eleonora Montuschi] (2014), and Idealization XII: Correcting the Models. Idealization and Abstraction in the Sciences [with M. R. Jones] 2005.

Nancy Cartwright is a Fellow of the British Academy and a member of the American Philosophical Society (The US’s oldest academic honourary society), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the German Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina) and a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship.


Expertise Details

Philosophy and history of science (especially physics and economics); causal inference; causal powers; scientific emergence and objectivity and evidence – especially for evidence-based policy [EBP]

My research