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  1. John T. Roberts, The Semantic Novelty of Theoretical Terms.
    Often when a new scientific theory is introduced, new terms are introduced along with it. Some of these new terms might be given explicit definitions using only terms that were in currency prior to the introduction of the theory. Some of them might be defined using other new terms introduced with the theory. But it frequently happens that the standard formulations of a theory do not define some of the new terms at all; these terms are adopted as primitives. The (...)
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  2. John T. Roberts (2013). And Counterfactuals. In Stephen Mumford & Matthew Tugby (eds.), Metaphysics and Science. Oxford University Press. 29.
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  3. John T. Roberts (2013). Measurements, Laws, and Counterfactuals. In Stephen Mumford & Matthew Tugby (eds.), Metaphysics and Science. Oxford University Press. 29.
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  4. John T. Roberts (2012). Belot, Gordon. Geometric Possibility. Review of Metaphysics 65 (4):863-864.
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  5. John T. Roberts (2011). Extra-Physical Structure in a Physical World? Or, Is the Study of Life Provincial? The Monist 94 (2):221-243.
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  6. John T. Roberts (2008). A Puzzle About Laws, Symmetries and Measurability. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (2):143-168.
    I describe a problem about the relations among symmetries, laws and measurable quantities. I explain why several ways of trying to solve it will not work, and I sketch a solution that might work. I discuss this problem in the context of Newtonian theories, but it also arises for many other physical theories. The problem is that there are two ways of defining the space-time symmetries of a physical theory: as its dynamical symmetries or as its empirical symmetries. The two (...)
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  7. John T. Roberts (2008). The Law-Governed Universe. Oxford University Press.
    The law-governed world-picture -- A remarkable idea about the way the universe is cosmos and compulsion -- The laws as the cosmic order : the best-system approach -- The three ways : no-laws, non-governing-laws, governing-laws -- Work that laws do in science -- An important difference between the laws of nature and the cosmic order -- The picture in four theses -- The strategy of this book -- The meta-theoretic conception of laws -- The measurability approach to laws -- What (...)
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  8. John T. Roberts (2007). Reply to Skow. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (1):163–167.
    We have argued against a standard way of defining Humean supervenience about laws, and in favor of an alternative definition. Skow says that our argument against the standard definition makes a big mistake. He is right about this. But that mistake is correctable. Skow also argues that our alternative definition is seriously flawed. We think he is wrong about this.
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  9. John T. Roberts (2006). Determinism. In J. Pfeifer & Sahotra Sarkar (eds.), The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia. Psychology Press. 1.
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  10. 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.
    This is the first part of a two-part article in which we defend the thesis of Humean Supervenience about Laws of Nature (HS). According to this thesis, two possible worlds cannot differ on what is a law of nature unless they also differ on the Humean base. The Humean base is easy to characterize intuitively, but there is no consensus on how, precisely, it should be defined. Here in Part I, we present and motivate a characterization of the Humean base (...)
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  11. 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.
    In Part I, we presented and motivated a new formulation of Humean Supervenience about Laws of Nature (HS). Here in Part II, we present an epistemological argument in defense of HS, thus formulated. Our contention is that one can combine a modest realism about laws of nature with a proper recognition of the importance of empirical testability in the epistemology of science only if one accepts HS.
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  12. John T. Roberts (2005). Contact with the Nomic. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (1):1-22.
    This is the first part of a two-part article in which we defend the thesis of Humean Supervenience about Laws of Nature (HS). According to this thesis, two possible worlds cannot differ on what is a law of nature unless they also differ on the Humean base. The Humean base is easy to characterize intuitively, but there is no consensus on how, precisely, it should be defined. Here in Part I, we present and motivate a characteriza- tion of the Humean (...)
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  13. John T. Roberts (2005). Measurability and Physical Laws. Synthese 144 (3):433Ð447.
    I propose and motivate a new account of fundamental physical laws, the Measurability Account of Laws (MAL). This account has a distinctive logical form, in that it takes the primary nomological concept to be that of a law relative to a given theory, and defines a law simpliciter as a law relative to some true theory. What makes a proposition a law relative to a theory is that it plays an indispensable role in demonstrating that some quantity posited by that (...)
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  14. John T. Roberts (2003). Leibniz on Force and Absolute Motion. Philosophy of Science 70 (3):553-573.
    I elaborate and defend an interpretation of Leibniz on which he is committed to a stronger space-time structure than so-called Leibnizian space-time, with absolute speeds grounded in his concept of force rather than in substantival space and time. I argue that this interpretation is well-motivated by Leibniz's mature writings, that it renders his views on space, time, motion, and force consistent with his metaphysics, and that it makes better sense of his replies to Clarke than does the standard interpretation. Further, (...)
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  15. John Earman, John T. Roberts & Sheldon Smith (2002). Ceteris Paribus Lost. Erkenntnis 57 (3):281-301.
    Many have claimed that ceteris paribus (CP) laws are a quite legitimate feature of scientific theories, some even going so far as to claim that laws of all scientific theories currently on offer are merely CP. We argue here that one of the common props of such a thesis, that there are numerous examples of CP laws in physics, is false. Moreover, besides the absence of genuine examples from physics, we suggest that otherwise unproblematic claims are rendered untestable by the (...)
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  16. John T. Roberts (2001). Undermining Undermined: Why Humean Supervenience Never Needed to Be Debugged (Even If It's a Necessary Truth). Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2001 (3):S98-.
    The existence of "undermining futures" appears to show that a contradiction can be deduced from the conjunction of Humean supervenience (HS) about chance and the Principal Principle. A number of strategies for rescuing HS from this problem have been proposed recently. In this paper, a novel way of defending HS from the threat is presented, and it is argued that this defense has advantages not shared by others. In particular, it requires no revisionism about chance, and it is equally available (...)
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