The pernicious effects of the belief in the single universal rule of law and the single scientific system are spread across the sciences. Indeed, a good many physicists right now are in revolt. Superstring theory is the new candidate for a theory of everything…The theory consumes resources and efforts that could go into the hundreds of other enterprises in physics that ask different kinds of questions and solve different kinds of problems (p. 16).
Cartwright is concerned that an unrealistic vision of what is possible poses a danger of much waste and little reward in the application of scientific and economic theories. She questions scientific fundamentalism – the tendency to think that all facts, regimented into theoretical schemes which provide accurate predictions in highly structured environments, are exemplary of the way nature is supposed to work (p.25). She denies the universality of laws, advocating instead a dappled world governed by local realism and metaphysical pluralism in which reality is more like the outcome of negotiations between domains than the logical consequence of a system of order (p. 1).