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General Propositions and Causality



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Ramsey, Frank Plumpton 


This article rebuts Ramsey's earlier theory, in 'Universals of Law and of Fact', of how laws of nature differ from other true generalisations. It argues that our laws are rules we use in judging 'if I meet an F I shall regard it as a G'. This temporal asymmetry is derived from that of cause and effect and used to distinguish what's past as what we can know about without knowing our present intentions.


This file contains a photograph of Ramsey's original manuscript, written in 1929. The page numbers and pencilled alterations were made by R. B. Braithwaite after Ramsey's death in 1930, in preparing it for publication. The article, which is now out of copyright, is republished in two later collections of Ramsey's papers: Foundations: Essays in Philosophy, Logic, Mathematics and Economics, edited by D. H. Mellor, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978, pp. 133-51; and in F. P. Ramsey: Philosophical Papers, edited by D. H. Mellor, Cambridge: Cambridge Unversity Press, 1990, pp. 145-63.


Causation, Laws of nature, Generalisations, Conditionals

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Kegan Paul, Trench & Trubner

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