David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Analysis 71 (2):216-222 (2011)
The merits of David Lewis’s Best System Account of natural law are frequently debated. But to my knowledge, the prospects for extending the BSA to cover meta-laws have never been examined. I shall identify two obstacles facing the most natural way of extending the BSA to cover meta-laws. The BSA’s fans should consider how these obstacles are to be overcome. Meta-laws are laws about laws. For example, Einstein’s special theory of relativity incorporates a meta-law: The content of the [special] relativity theory can … be summarized in one sentence: all natural laws must be so conditioned that they are covariant with respect to Lorentz transformations. [The special theory of relativity] is not a theory in the usual sense but is better regarded as a second-level theory, or a theory of theories that constrains first-level theories. The principle of relativity is an example of a symmetry principle: a principle requiring that the first-order laws be unchanged under a given transformation. Long before Einstein proposed the principle of relativity, other spacetime symmetries were widely believed to be meta-laws: that the first-order laws are covariant under arbitrary spatial displacements, temporal displacements and spatial rotations. These spacetime symmetries require the laws to treat all spatial locations and directions alike and all moments alike. For instance, symmetry under temporal displacements rules out a fundamental force law specifying that a given force declines with the inverse-square of the distance before a given moment but with the inverse-cube of the distance at and after that moment. Wigner characterizes such a symmetry principle as ‘a superprinciple which is in …
|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
David Lewis (1994). Humean Supervenience Debugged. Mind 103 (412):473--490.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Z. Yudell (2013). Lange's Challenge: Accounting for Meta-Laws. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (2):347-369.
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.
Marc Lange (2007). Laws and Meta-Laws of Nature. The Harvard Review of Philosophy 15 (1):457-481.
John T. Roberts (2008). The Law-Governed Universe. Oxford University Press.
Clint Ballinger (2007). Initial Conditions and the 'Open Systems' Argument Against Laws of Nature. Metaphysica 9 (1):17-31.
Richard Swinburne (2004). The Argument From Laws of Nature Reassessed. In M. Ruse & W. Dembski (eds.), Debating Design: From Darwin to Dna. Cambridge Univ Pr
Marc Lange (2009). Laws and Lawmakers: Science, Metaphysics, and the Laws of Nature. Oxford University Press.
Mathias Frisch (2011). From Arbuthnot to Boltzmann: The Past Hypothesis, the Best System, and the Special Sciences. Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1001-1011.
John Roberts (1999). "Laws of Nature" as an Indexical Term: A Reinterpretation of Lewis's Best-System Analysis. Philosophy of Science 66 (3):511.
Norman Swartz, Laws of Nature. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
Chris Swoyer (1982). The Nature of Natural Laws. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 60 (3):203 – 223.
Heather Demarest (2012). Do Counterfactuals Ground the Laws of Nature? A Critique of Lange. Philosophy of Science 79 (3):333-344.
Marc Lange (2004). A Note on Scientific Essentialism, Laws of Nature, and Counterfactual Conditionals. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (2):227 – 241.
Alexander Bird (2011). Lange and Laws, Kinds, and Counterfactuals. In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Matthew H. Slater (eds.), Carving Nature at its Joints. MIT Press
D. H. Mellor (1990). Laws, Chances and Properties. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 4 (2):159 – 170.
Added to index2011-02-06
Total downloads219 ( #13,074 of 1,911,323 )
Recent downloads (6 months)24 ( #27,687 of 1,911,323 )
How can I increase my downloads?