David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 16 (2):141 – 155 (2002)
David Lewis has proposed an analysis of lawhood in terms of membership of a system of regularities optimizing simplicity and strength in information content. This article studies his proposal against the broader background of the project of Humean supervenience. In particular, I claim that, in Lewis's account of lawhood, his intuition about small deviations from a given law in nearby worlds (in order to avoid backtracking and epiphenomena) leads to the conclusion that laws do not support (certain) counterfactuals and do not bestow nomic necessity on (certain) facts induced by these laws. Support of counterfactuals and nomic necessity, however, are widely held to be important aspects of the concept of lawhood. In my view, therefore, it is not possible to abandon these criteria in any satisfactory analysis of the notion of laws of nature. In a final section, I suggest that the whole project of Humean supervenience is misleading. It does not sufficiently take notice of the important role that reasoning about contrary-to-fact situations plays in modern scientific practice.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
Alvin Plantinga (1992). The Nature of Necessity. Clarendon Press.
David K. Lewis (1999). Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology. Cambridge, Uk ;Cambridge University Press.
D. M. Armstrong (1983). What is a Law of Nature? Cambridge University Press.
David Lewis (1994). Humean Supervenience Debugged. Mind 103 (412):473--490.
John W. Carroll, Laws of Nature. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Barry Ward (2007). Laws, Explanation, Governing, and Generation. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (4):537 – 552.
Susan Schneider (2007). What is the Significance of the Intuition That Laws of Nature Govern? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):307 – 324.
John Roberts, Contact with the Nomic: A Challenge for Deniers of Humean Supervenience About Laws of Nature.
John Earman & John T. Roberts (2005). Contact with the Nomic: A Challenge for Deniers of Humean Supervenience About Laws of Nature Part II: The Epistemological Argument for Humean Supervenience. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (2):253–286.
Marc Lange (2006). How to Account for the Relation Between Chancy Facts and Deterministic Laws. Mind 115 (460):917--946.
John T. Roberts (2008). The Law-Governed Universe. Oxford University Press.
Barry Ward (2003). Sometimes the World is Not Enough: The Pursuit of Explanatory Laws in a Humean World. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 84 (2):175–197.
John Earman & John T. Roberts (2005). Contact with the Nomic: A Challenge for Deniers of Humean Supervenience About Laws of Nature Part I: Humean Supervenience. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (1):1–22.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads163 ( #15,412 of 1,781,367 )
Recent downloads (6 months)9 ( #80,922 of 1,781,367 )
How can I increase my downloads?