Biology and A Priori Laws

Philosophy of Science 70 (5):1380-1389 (2003)
Abstract: In this paper, my main objective is to investigate the nature of a priori biological laws in connection with the idea that laws must be empirical. I argue that functions of so-called a priori biological laws in biological sciences are the same as those of empirical physical laws. Thus, the requirement of being empirical makes no difference how laws operate in sciences. This result presents us a choice between sticking with a philosophical requirement of laws being empirical or taking functional equivalences of laws seriously and modify our philosophical accounts of laws. I favor the latter. The paper consists of 4 sections. In section 1, I define the problem and I briefly explain my strategy in addressing it. In section 2, I discuss the relation between explanation and laws. In section 3, I compare a priori biological laws with some physical laws and I argue that their functions are the same in sciences to which they belong. In section 4, I discuss the implications of my discussions in sections 2 and 3 and I argue that the requirement of empirical is too strong.
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DOI 10.1086/377415
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Elliott Sober (2011). A Priori Causal Models of Natural Selection. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):571 - 589.

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