David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
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 the laws of nature among the aims of natural philosophy. Regularities there may be in an Aristotelian world, but the focus of inquiry is elsewhere —on natural kinds, powers, qualities, temperaments. There must have been a change of view at some point. The obvious period in which to look for that change is that period in which the notion of law came to the fore in natural philosophy: the seventeenth century. Though there has been occasional dissension, that notion has been with us ever since. Scientists are quite happy to talk about all sorts of laws, from the basic laws of conservation to “phenomenological” and statistical laws. Philosophers, on the other hand, have found them puzzling. The character attributed to laws seems to be in need of explanation, and yet no convincing explanation is at hand; indeed, as I have mentioned, some philosophers think that natural science has no laws, or at least that it doesn’t need to appeal to them to accomplish its ends. My suggestion will be that the configuration of features characteristic..
|Keywords||natural law early modern theism natural philosophy laws of nature|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
John Bigelow, Brian Ellis & Caroline Lierse (1992). The World as One of a Kind: Natural Necessity and Laws of Nature. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 43 (3):371-388.
Marc Lange (2009). Laws and Lawmakers: Science, Metaphysics, and the Laws of Nature. Oxford University Press.
James W. McAllister (1997). Laws of Nature, Natural History, and the Description of the World. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 11 (3):245 – 258.
Norman Swartz, Laws of Nature. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Destutt de Tracy & Antoine Louis Claude (1811/2006). A Commentary and Review of Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws: Prepared for Press From the Original. Lawbook Exchange.
Chris Swoyer (1982). The Nature of Natural Laws. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 60 (3):203 – 223.
Francis Oakley (2005). Natural Law, Laws of Nature, Natural Rights: Continuity and Discontinuity in the History of Ideas. Continuum.
Bernhard Nickel (2010). Ceteris Paribus Laws: Generics and Natural Kinds. Philosophers' Imprint 10 (06).
Marc Lange (2000). Natural Laws in Scientific Practice. Oxford University Press.
Added to index2010-04-08
Total downloads134 ( #7,103 of 1,100,145 )
Recent downloads (6 months)36 ( #3,991 of 1,100,145 )
How can I increase my downloads?