David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
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
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References found in this work BETA
David Z. Albert (2000). Time and Chance. Harvard University Press.
Craig Callender (2004). Measures, Explanations and the Past: Should ‘Special’ Initial Conditions Be Explained? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (2):195-217.
John W. Carroll, Laws of Nature. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Nancy Cartwright (1989). Nature's Capacities and Their Measurement. Oxford University Press.
Nancy Cartwright (1999). The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science. Cambridge University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Mathias Frisch (2011). From Arbuthnot to Boltzmann: The Past Hypothesis, the Best System, and the Special Sciences. Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1001-1011.
Robert Kowalenko (2011). The Epistemology of Hedged Laws. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42 (3):445-452.
Jaakko Kuorikoski (2014). How to Be a Humean Interventionist. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (2):333-351.
José Díez (forthcoming). Scientific W-Explanation as Ampliative, Specialized Embedding: A Neo-Hempelian Account. Erkenntnis:1-31.
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