David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 16 (3):227 – 243 (2002)
In this article I intend to show that the inference problem, one of the main objections raised against the anti-Humean theory of natural laws defended by Dretske, Tooley and Armstrong ("DTA theory" for short), can be successfully answered. First, I argue that a proper solution should meet two essential requirements that the proposals made by the DTA theorists do not satisfy. Then I state a solution to the inference problem that assumes a local immanentistic view of universals, a partial definition of the nomic necessitation relation as a relation of existential dependence, and a principle constraining multiple occupancy. I also argue that my solution meets the two requirements. Finally, I deal with non-standard laws such as exclusion laws, causal laws and laws involving spatiotemporal parameters.
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