David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Erkenntnis 73 (3):427 - 447 (2010)
An important obstacle to lawhood in the special sciences is the worry that such laws would require metaphysically extravagant conspiracies among fundamental particles. How, short of conspiracy, is this possible? In this paper we'll review a number of strategies that allow for the projectibility of special science generalizations without positing outlandish conspiracies: non-Humean pluralism, classical MRL theories of laws, and Albert and Loewer's theory. After arguing that none of the above fully succeed, we consider the conspiracy problem through the lens of our preferred view of laws, an elaboration of the MRL view that we call the Better Best System (BBS) theory. BBS offers a picture on which, although all events supervene on a fundamental level, there is no one unique locus of projectibility; rather there are a large number of loci corresponding to the different areas (ecology, economics, solid-state chemistry, etc.) in which there are simple and strong generalizations to be made. While we expect that some amount of conspiracy-fear-inducing special science projectibility is inevitable given BBS, we'll argue that this is unobjectionable. It follows from BBS that the laws of any particular special or fundamental science amount to a proper subset of the laws. From this vantage point, the existence of projectible special science generalizations not guaranteed by the fundamental laws is not an occasion for conspiracy fantasies, but a predictable fact of life in a complex world
|Keywords||Philosophy Logic Ethics Ontology Epistemology Philosophy|
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References found in this work BETA
John Dupré (1993). The Disorder of Things: Metaphysical Foundations of the Disunity of Science. Harvard University Press.
Nancy Cartwright (1999). The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science. Cambridge University Press.
David K. Lewis (1973). Counterfactuals. Blackwell Publishers.
Nelson Goodman (1983). Fact, Fiction, and Forecast. Harvard University Press.
Nancy Cartwright (1989). Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Alexander Reutlinger (2014). Do Statistical Laws Solve the 'Problem of Provisos'? Erkenntnis 79 (10):1759-1773.
Markus Schrenk (2014). Better Best Systems and the Issue of CP-Laws. Erkenntnis 79 (10):1787-1799.
Matthias Unterhuber (2014). Do Ceteris Paribus Laws Exist? A Regularity-Based Best System Analysis. Erkenntnis 79 (10):1833-1847.
Marius Backmann & Alexander Reutlinger (2014). Better Best Systems – Too Good To Be True. Dialectica 68 (3):375-390.
Alexander Reutlinger & Matthias Unterhuber (2014). Thinking About Non-Universal Laws. Erkenntnis 79 (10):1703-1713.
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