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Laws of Nature, Misc

Edited by Markus Schrenk (Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf)
Assistant editor: Florian Boge (University of Cologne, University of Cologne)
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Summary Please see middle category "laws of nature".
Key works Please see middle category "laws of nature".
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  1. Peter Achinstein (1971). Law and Explanation: An Essay in the Philosophy of Science. London,Oxford University Press.
  2. J. Anandan (1999). Are There Dynamical Laws? Foundations of Physics 29 (11):1647-1672.
    The nature of a physical law is examined, and it is suggested that there may not be any fundamental dynamical laws. This explains the intrinsic indeterminism of quantum theory. The probabilities for transition from a given initial state to a final state then depends on the quantum geometry that is determined by symmetries, which may exist as relations between states in the absence of dynamical laws. This enables the experimentally well-confirmed quantum probabilities to be derived from the geometry of Hilbert (...)
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  3. D. M. Armstrong (1983). What is a Law of Nature? Cambridge University Press.
    This is a study of a crucial and controversial topic in metaphysics and the philosophy of science: the status of the laws of nature. D. M. Armstrong works out clearly and in comprehensive detail a largely original view that laws are relations between properties or universals. The theory is continuous with the views on universals and more generally with the scientific realism that Professor Armstrong has advanced in earlier publications. He begins here by mounting an attack on the orthodox and (...)
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  4. Alan Baker (1999). Are the Laws of Nature Deductively Closed? In H. Sankey (ed.), Causation and Laws of Nature. Kluwer Academic Press. 91--109.
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  5. Yuri Balashov, Laws of Physics and the Universe.
    Are the laws of nature real? Do they belong to the world or merely reflect the way we speak about it? And if they are real, what sort of entity are they? These questions have been intensely debated by philosophers. Modern cosmology, however, has given such questions a new twist by introducing a unique perspective on physical reality, the perspective which I shall call the cosmological point of view. In this perspective, the universe as a whole presents itself as a (...)
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  6. Yuri Balashov (2002). What is a Law of Nature? Southern Journal of Philosophy 40 (4):459-473.
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  7. Yury V. Balashov (1992). On the Evolution of Natural Laws. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 43 (3):343-370.
    's argumentation in favour of essential invariability of the fundamental laws of nature is critically examined. It is contended that within the realist framework Poincareé's arguments lose their apodictical force. In this sense the assumption of inconstancy of even the fundamental laws of nature is methodologically legitimate.
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  8. Clint Ballinger (2007). Initial Conditions and the 'Open Systems' Argument Against Laws of Nature. Metaphysica 9 (1):17-31.
    This article attacks “open systems” arguments that because constant conjunctions are not generally observed in the real world of open systems we should be highly skeptical that universal laws exist. This work differs from other critiques of open system arguments against laws of nature by not focusing on laws themselves, but rather on the inference from open systems. We argue that open system arguments fail for two related reasons; 1) because they cannot account for the “systems” central to their argument (...)
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  9. Matthew J. Barker (2013). Essentialism. In Byron Kaldis (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Social Sciences.
  10. Mark Bedau, Supple Laws in Psychology and Biology.
    The nature and status of psychological laws are a long-standing controversy. I will argue that part of the controversy stems from the distinctive nature of an important subset of those laws, which I’ll call “supple laws.” An emergent-model strategy taken by the new interdisciplinary field of artificial life provides a strikingly successful understanding of analogously supple laws in biology. So, after reviewing the failures of the two evident strategies for understanding supple psychological laws, I’ll turn for inspiration to emergent-models explanations (...)
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  11. Helen Beebee (2009). John Foster the Divine Lawmaker. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 60 (2):453-457.
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  12. Christopher Belanger (2010). Marc Lange. Laws and Lawmakers: Science, Metaphysics, and the Laws of Nature. Spontaneous Generations 4 (1):266-269.
    In Laws and Lawmakers: Science, Metaphysics, and the Laws of Nature, Marc Lange has presented an engagingly written, tightly argued, and novel philosophical account of the laws of nature. One of the intuitions behind the notion of a law of nature is, roughly, that of the many regularities we observe in the world there are some which appear to be due to mere happen-stance (“accidental” regularities, in the philosopher’s jargon), while others, which we call “laws,” seem to be possessed of (...)
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  13. Lukáš Bielik (2010). The Demarcation Problem of Laws of Nature. Organon F 17 (4):522-549.
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  14. Alexander Bird (2014). Laws and Lawmakers: Science, Metaphysics, and the Laws of Nature. Philosophical Review 123 (1):116-118.
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  15. Alexander Bird (2011). Lange and Laws, Kinds, and Counterfactuals. In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Matthew H. Slater (eds.), Carving Nature at its Joints. MIT Press.
    In this paper I examine and question Marc Lange’s account of laws, and his claim that the law delineating the range of natural kinds of fundamental particle has a lesser grade of necessity that the laws connecting the fundamental properties of those kinds with their derived properties.
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  16. Alexander Bird (2006). Looking for Laws. Metascience 15:441-54.
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  17. Alexander Bird (2002). Laws and Criteria. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 32 (4):511-42.
    Debates concerning the analysis of the concept of law of nature must address the following problem. On the one hand, our grasp of laws of nature is via our knowledge of their instances. And this seems not only an epistemological truth but also a semantic one. The concept of a law of nature must be explicated in terms of the things that instantiate the law. It is not simply that a piece of metal that conducts electricity is evidence for a (...)
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  18. Simon Bostock (2008). John W. Carroll (Ed.):Readings on Laws of Nature,:Readings on Laws of Nature. Philosophy of Science 75 (3):409-412.
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  19. Simon Bostock (2003). Are All Possible Laws Actual Laws? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (4):517 – 533.
    Suppose it is a law that all Fs are G. Does the law hold in all possible worlds? According to Necessitarianism, it holds in at least all those worlds containing F-ness. I argue that the Necessitarian must also take the law to hold in all those possible worlds which do not contain F-ness. Accepting the principle that a law can only hold in a world if it has some ontological grounding in that world, I argue that Necessitarianism is committed to (...)
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  20. Robert N. Brandon (1997). Does Biology Have Laws? The Experimental Evidence. Philosophy of Science 64 (4):457.
    In this paper I argue that we can best make sense of the practice of experimental evolutionary biology if we see it as investigating contingent, rather than lawlike, regularities. This understanding is contrasted with the experimental practice of certain areas of physics. However, this presents a problem for those who accept the Logical Positivist conception of law and its essential role in scientific explanation. I address this problem by arguing that the contingent regularities of evolutionary biology have a limited range (...)
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  21. Mario Bunge (1961). Kinds and Criteria of Scientific Laws. Philosophy of Science 28 (3):260-281.
    Factual statements that might qualify for the status of law statements are classed from various philosophically relevant standpoints (referents, precision, structure of predicates, extension, systemicity, inferential power, inception, ostensiveness, testability, levels, and determination categories). More than seven dozen of not mutually exclusive kinds of lawlike statements emerge. Strictly universal and counterfactually powerful statements are seen to constitute just one kind of lawlike statements; classificatory and some statistical laws, e.g., are shown not to comply with the requirements of universality and counterfactual (...)
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  22. Alex Burri (1996). Realismus in Duhems Naturgemässer Klassifikation. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 27 (2):203 - 213.
    Realism in Duhem's Natural Classification. Pierre Duhem is an outstanding exponent of empiricism. According to the empiricist view scientific laws and theories merely describe formal relations between observable phenomena. Duhems' important notion of natural classification is intended to explain the predictive success of science. I shall argue that it can only be interpreted realistically. Besides the success of science, two further arguments are put forward in favor of realism: (i) the fact that laws of nature are necessary, and (ii) the (...)
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  23. Matteo Favaretti Camposampiero (2012). Laws of Nature and Possible Worlds. Leibniz, Wolff and Bilfinger. Verifiche: Rivista Trimestrale di Scienze Umane 41 (4).
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  24. J. Carroll (1997). Review. Laws of Nature: Essays on the Philosophical, Scientific and Historical Dimension. Friedel Weinert (Ed). British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (4):625-627.
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  25. John Carroll (2008). Nailed to Hume's Cross? In Theodore Sider, John Hawthorne & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics. Blackwell Pub.. 67--81.
    Some scientists try to discover and report laws of nature. And, they do so with success. There are many principles that were for a long time thought to be laws that turned out to be useful approximations, like Newton’s gravitational principle. There are others that were thought to be laws and still are considered laws, like Einstein’s principle that no signals travel faster than light. Laws of nature are not just important to scientists. They are also of great interest to (...)
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  26. Nancy Cartwright (1997). Where Do Laws of Nature Come From? Dialectica 51 (1):65–78.
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  27. Alan Chalmers (1999). Boyle's Analysis of Laws. In Howard Sankey (ed.), Causation and Laws of Nature. Kluwer. 14.
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  28. Silvio Seno Chibeni (2010). Locke on the Epistemological Status of Scientific Laws. Principia 9 (1-2):19-41.
    This article aims to defend Locke against Quine’s charge, made in his famous “two dogmas” paper, that Locke’s theory of knowledge is badly flawed, not only for assuming the dogmas, but also for adopting an “intolerably restrictive” version of the dogma of reductionism. It is shown here that, in his analysis of the epistemological status of scientific laws, Locke has effectively transcended the narrow idea-empiricism which underlies this version of reductionism. First, in order to escape idealism, he introduced the notion (...)
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  29. W. Christiaens (2008). Some Remarks on the Metaphysical Status of Laws of Nature. Acta Philosophica Fennica 84:99.
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  30. Maureen Christie (1994). Philosophers Versus Chemists Concerning 'Laws of Nature'. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 25 (4):613-629.
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  31. B. De Wet (2007). The Ontic Status of the Laws of Nature. South African Journal of Philosophy 26 (2):122-132.
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  32. Heather Demarest (2012). Do Counterfactuals Ground the Laws of Nature? A Critique of Lange. Philosophy of Science 79 (3):333-344.
    Most philosophers of science hold that the laws of nature play an important role in determining which counterfactuals are true. Marc Lange reverses this dependence, arguing that it is the truth of certain counterfactuals that determines which statements are laws. I argue that the context sensitivity of counterfactual sentences makes it impossible for them to determine the laws. Next, I argue that Lange’s view cannot avoid additional counterexamples concerning nested counterfactuals. Finally, I argue that Lange’s counterfacts, posited as the ultimate (...)
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  33. Dennis Des Chene, Eternal Truths and Laws of Nature.
    Are the laws of nature among the eternal truths that, according to Descartes, are created by God? The basis of those laws is the immutability of the divine will, which is not an eternal truth, but a divine attribute. On the other hand, the realization of those laws, and in particular, the quantitative consequences to be drawn from them, depend upon the eternal truths insofar as those truths include the foundations of geometry and arithmetic.
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  34. Dennis des Chene, Natural Laws and Divine Agency in the Later Seventeenth Century.
    It is a commonplace that one of the primary tasks of natural science is to discover the laws of nature. Those who don’t think that nature has laws will of course disagree; but of those who do, most will be in accord with Armstrong when he writes that natural science, having discovered the kinds and properties of things, should “state the laws” which those things “obey” (Armstrong What is a law 3). No Scholastic philosopher would have included the discovery of (...)
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  35. Craig Dilworth (1994). Principles, Laws, Theories and the Metaphysics of Science. Synthese 101 (2):223 - 247.
    In this paper an outline of a metaphysical conception of modern science is presented in which a fundamental distinction is drawn between scientific principles, laws and theories. On this view, ontologicalprinciples, rather than e.g. empirical data, constitute the core of science. The most fundamental of these principles are three in number, being, more particularly (A) the principle of the uniformity of nature, (B) the principle of the perpetuity of substance, and (C) the principle of causality.These three principles set basic constraints (...)
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  36. Robert DiSalle (1993). Helmholtz's Empiricist Philosophy of Mathematics. Between Laws of Perception and Laws of Nature. In David Cahan (ed.), Hermann von Helmholtz and the Foundations of Nineteenth-Century Science. University of California Press. 498--521.
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  37. Mauro Dorato (2005). Why Are (Most) Laws of Nature Mathematical? In Jan Faye, Paul Needham, Uwe Scheffler & Max Urchs (eds.), Nature's Principles. Springer. 55--75.
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  38. A. Drewery (2011). Laws and Lawmakers: Science, Metaphysics and the Laws of Nature * by Marc Lange. Analysis 71 (3):599-601.
    Marc Lange’s new book on laws offers a restatement and development of the account he proposed in Natural Laws and Scientific Practice (Oxford University Press, 2000), henceforth NLSP, and the new material is helpfully summarized in the preface. Laws and Lawmakers presents the key idea from NLSP in a rather more reader-friendly manner – this idea being roughly that the difference between laws and accidents is that laws, unlike accidents, form a ‘stable’ set, i.e. a logically closed set of truths (...)
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  39. John Earman (1978). The Universality of Laws. Philosophy of Science 45 (2):173-181.
    Various senses in which laws of nature are supposed to be "universal" are distinguished. Conditions designed to capture the content of the more important of these senses are proposed and the relations among these conditions are examined. The status of universality requirements is briefly discussed.
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  40. A. S. Eddington (1920). The Meaning of Matter and the Laws of Nature According to the Theory of Relativity. Mind 29 (114):145-158.
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  41. Evan Fales (1990). Causation and Universals. Routledge.
    Then, adopting the view of Armstrong and others that causation is grounded in a second-order relation between universals, he explores a range of topics for ...
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  42. Jean-Claude Falmagne (2004). Meaningfulness and Order-Invariance: Two Fundamental Principles for Scientific Laws. Foundations of Physics 34 (9):1341-1384.
    The first invariance principle, called “meaningfulness,” is germane to the common practice requiring that the form of a scientific law must not be altered by a change of the units of the measurement scales. By itself, meaningfulness does not put any constraint on the possible data. The second principle requires that the output variable is “order-invariant” with respect to any transformation (of one of the input variables) belonging to a particular family or class of such transformations which are characteristic of (...)
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  43. James H. Fetzer (1991). Are There Laws of Nature? Philosophical Books 32 (2):65-75.
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  44. John Forge (1996). Laws and States in Quantum Mechanics. In P. Riggs (ed.), Natural Kinds, Laws of Nature and Scientific Methodology. Kluwer Academic Publishers. 163--185.
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  45. Peter Forrest (1996). Physical Necessity and the Passage of Time. In P. Riggs (ed.), Natural Kinds, Laws of Nature and Scientific Methodology. Kluwer Academic Publishers. 49--62.
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  46. John Foster (2001). Regulatities, Laws of Nature, and the Existance of God. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 101 (2):145–161.
    The regularities in nature, simply by being regularities, call for explanation. There are only two ways in which we could, with any plausibility, try to explain them. One way would be to suppose that they are imposed on the world by God. The other would be to suppose that they reflect the presence of laws of nature, conceived of as forms of natural necessity. But the only way of making sense of the notion of a law of nature, thus conceived, (...)
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  47. Danny Frederick (2013). A Puzzle About Natural Laws and the Existence of God. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 73 (3):269-283.
    The existence of natural laws, whether deterministic or indeterministic, and whether exceptionless or ceteris paribus, seems puzzling because it implies that mindless bits of matter behave in a consistent and co-ordinated way. I explain this puzzle by showing that a number of attempted solutions fail. The puzzle could be resolved if it were assumed that natural laws are a manifestation of God’s activity. This argument from natural law to God’s existence differs from its traditional counterparts in that, whereas the latter (...)
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  48. Dagobert Frey & Ilya Prigogine (1993). The Unnatural Nature of the Laws of Nature: Symmetry and Asymmetry. In S. French & H. Kamminga (eds.), Correspondence, Invariance and Heuristics. Kluwer. 148--171.
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  49. Mathias Frisch, Laws in Physics.
    What are laws of nature? During much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Newton’s laws of motion were taken to be the paradigm of scientific laws thought to constitute universal and necessary eternal truths. But since the turn of the twentieth century we know that Newton’s laws are not universally valid. Does this mean that their status as laws of physics has changed? Have we discovered that the principles, which were once thought to be laws of nature, are not in (...)
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  50. Daniel Garber (1983). Mind, Body and the Laws of Nature in Descartes and Leibniz. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 8 (1):105-133.
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