A Critique of Humean and Anti-Humean Metaphysics of Cause and Law - final version

Abstract
Metaphysicians play an important role in our understanding of the universe. In recent years, physicists have focussed on finding accurate mathematical formalisms of the evolution of our physical system - if a metaphysician can uncover the metaphysical underpinnings of these formalisms; that is, why these formalisms seem to consistently map the universe, then our understanding of the world and the things in it is greatly enhanced. Science, then, plays a very important role in our project, as the best scientific formalisms provide us with what we, as metaphysicians, should be trying to interpret. In this thesis I examine existing metaphysical views of what a law is (both from a conceptual and from a metaphysical perspective), to show how closely causation is linked to laws, and to provide a priori arguments for and against each of these positions. Ultimately, I aim to provide an analysis of a number of metaphysics of natural laws and causation, apply these accounts to our best scientific theories, and see how these metaphysics fit in with our concepts of cause and law. Although I do not attempt a definitive metaphysical account myself, I conclude that any successful metaphysic will be a broadly Humean one, and furthermore that given the concepts of cause and law that shall be agreed upon, Humean theories allow for there to be causal sequences and laws (in line with our concepts) in the world.
Keywords Humeanism  Dispositional Essentialism  Laws of Nature  Causation  Necessitation
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