David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Mind 115 (460):917--946 (2006)
Suppose that unobtanium-346 is a rare radioactive isotope. Consider: (1) Every Un346 atom, at its creation, decays within 7 microseconds (µs). (50%) Every Un346 atom, at its creation, has a 50% chance of decaying within 7µs. (1) and (50%) can be true together, but (1) and (50%) cannot together be laws of nature. Indeed, (50%)'s mere (non-vacuous) truth logically precludes (1)'s lawhood. A satisfactory analysis of chance and lawhood should nicely account for this relation. I shall argue first that David Lewis's Humean picture accounts for this relation only by inserting this relation ‘by hand’. Next, I shall argue that this relation between law and chance also threatens a radically non-Humean picture of laws and chances. Finally, I shall offer an account of natural law that nicely explains the relation between chancy facts and deterministic laws. This explanation is not ad hoc because it derives the relation from the very same features of lawhood that account for the laws' special relation to counterfactuals and explain how the laws (unlike the accidents) possess a variety of necessity. The reason that a chancy fact such as (50%) keeps (1) from being a law, without keeping (1) from being true, is ultimately that a chancy fact constrains the subjunctive facts and (1)'s lawhood, unlike (1)'s truth, depends upon the subjunctive facts.
|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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Marc Lange (2007). Laws and Meta-Laws of Nature: Conservation Laws and Symmetries. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (3):457-481.
C. Haufe (2013). From Necessary Chances to Biological Laws. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (2):279-295.
Marc Lange (2009). Must the Fundamental Laws of Physics Be Complete? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (2):312-345.
Marc Lange (2009). A Tale of Two Vectors. Dialectica 63 (4):397-431.
Similar books and articles
John F. Halpin (1998). Lewis, Thau, and Hall on Chance and the Best-System Account of Law. Philosophy of Science 65 (2):349-360.
Moritz Schulz (2011). Chance and Actuality. Philosophical Quarterly 61 (242):105-129.
Robert Williams (2008). Chances, Counterfactuals, and Similarity. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (2):385-420.
Chris Swoyer (1982). The Nature of Natural Laws. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 60 (3):203 – 223.
Roman Frigg & Carl Hoefer (2010). Determinism and Chance From a Humean Perspective. In Friedrich Stadler, Dennis Dieks, Wenceslao González, Hartmann J., Uebel Stephan, Weber Thomas & Marcel (eds.), The Present Situation in the Philosophy of Science. Springer. 351--72.
John T. Roberts (2008). The Law-Governed Universe. Oxford University Press.
Lydia Jaeger (2002). Humean Supervenience and Best-System Laws. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 16 (2):141 – 155.
D. H. Mellor (1990). Laws, Chances and Properties. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 4 (2):159 – 170.
Marc Lange (2004). A Note on Scientific Essentialism, Laws of Nature, and Counterfactual Conditionals. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (2):227 – 241.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads145 ( #7,494 of 1,679,360 )
Recent downloads (6 months)39 ( #3,749 of 1,679,360 )
How can I increase my downloads?