Nancy Cartwright FBA FAcSS is Professor of Philosophy at Durham University and a Distinguished Professor at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). In the first half of her career at Stanford University she specialised in the philosophy of the natural sciences, especially physics; in the second half, at the London School of Economics and now Durham and UCSD, she has specialised in philosophy and methodology of the social sciences with special attention to economics. Her current research focusses on objectivity and evidence, especially for evidence-based policy.

She was married to the late Sir Stuart Hampshire. They have two daughters, Emily Ellsworth Hampshire Cartwright and Sophie Hampshire Cartwright and two granddaughters, Lucy EC Charlton and Tabitha Cartwright Spray.

Nancy, here pictured with Joyce Havstad (ex PhD student)

Latest Talks

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Now available…

Nature the Artful Modeler: Lectures on Laws, Science, How Nature Arranges the World, and How We Can Arrange It Better (The 2017 Carus Lectures)

More details on publisher’s website here


Cartwright, N. ‘What is meant by ‘rigour’ in evidence-based educational policy and what’s so good about it’. Special issue of Educational Research and Evaluation.

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Cartwright, N. ‘Why Mixed Methods Are Necessary for Evaluating Any Policy’. In M. Nagatsu and A. Ruzzene, (Eds.), Frontiers of social science: philosophical reflections. (Bloomsbury).

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Selected Publications

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  • Munro E., Cartwright N., Hardie J. & Montuschi E. (2017) Improving Child Safety: deliberation, judgement and empirical research Read More
  • Deaton A. & Cartwright N. (2018) Understanding and misunderstanding randomized controlled trials Read More
  • Deaton A. & Cartwright N. (2018) Reflections on Randomized Control Trials Read more
  • Cartwright N. & Merlussi P. (2018) Are laws of nature consistent with contingency? Read More
  • Cartwright N. (2018) Will Your Policy Work? Experiments versus Models. Read More
  • Cartwright N. (2018) Theoretical Practices That Work: Those That Mimic Nature’s Own. Read More
  • Cartwright N. (2018) What evidence should guidelines take note of? Read More
  • Joyce K.E. & Cartwright N. (2018) Meeting Our Standards for Educational Justice: Doing Our Best with the Evidence. Read More
  • Bhakthavatsalam S. & Cartwright N. (2017) What’s so special about empirical adequacy? Read More
  • Cartwright N. (2017) How to Learn about Causes in the Single Case. Read More