Hume was correct in his critique of causation as understood by the New Science, a critique deadly to both causal and scientific realism. Getting beyond Hume's critique of causation requires that we call into question the New Science's understanding of causation and replace it with a Neo-Aristotelian account of causal processes. In this paper, I try to point the way to such an account.
How should we account for the extraordinary regularity in the world? Humeans and Non-Humeans sharply disagree. According to Non-Humeans, the world behaves in an extraordinarily regular way because of certain necessary connections in nature. However, Humeans have thought that Non-Humean views are metaphysically objectionable. In particular, there are two general metaphysical principles that Humeans have found attractive that are incompatible with all existing versions of Non-Humeanism. My goal in this paper is to develop a novel version of Non-Humeanism that is (...) consistent with (and even entails) both of these general metaphysical principles. By endorsing such a view, one can have the explanatory benefits of Non-Humeanism while at the same time avoiding two of the major metaphysical objections towards Non-Humeanism. (shrink)
A central question in the philosophy of science is: What is a law of nature? Different answers to this question define an important schism: Humeans, in the wake of David Hume, hold that the laws of nature are nothing over and above what actually happens and reject irreducible facts about natural modality (Lewis, 1983, 1994; cf. Miller, 2015). According to Non-Humeans, by contrast, the laws are metaphysically fundamental (Maudlin, 2007) or grounded in primitive modal structures, such as dispositional essences of (...) powerful properties (Bird, 2007), necessitation relations (Armstrong, 1983), or primitive subjunctive facts (Lange, 2009). This volume focuses on recent developments in the discussion of Humeanism, specifically on pragmatic versions of the view that put the needs of limited agents like us front and center. (shrink)
Humean Laws for Human Agents presents cutting-edge research by leading experts on the Humean account of laws, chance, possibility, and necessity. A central question in metaphysics and philosophy of science is: What are laws of nature? Humeans hold that laws are not sui generis metaphysical entities but merely particularly effective summaries of what actually happens. The most discussed recent work on Humeanism emphasizes the laws' usefulness for limited agents and uses pragmatic considerations to address fundamental and long-standing problems. The current (...) volume develops and critically examines pragmatic Humean accounts, with innovative new work on the epistemology of laws and chance, the problem of induction, counterfactuals, special science laws, and a Humean account of essence. Taken together, the papers provide a roadmap for developing pragmatic Humeanism and connate views, setting the agenda for future research. (shrink)
The common view that Hume is a regularity theorist about laws of nature isn’t textually well grounded. The texts show that he thinks of them as objective governing principles that could conceivably be violated while still counting as a law of nature. This is a standard view at the time, and Hume borrows it from others. He implies that the best evidence for rational religion is the exceptionless workings of the laws of nature, he argues that suicide isn’t incompatible with (...) the will of God by identifying his will with the laws of nature, and he has Philo argue for the existence of God from the simplicity of the laws governing the world. He sheds some of the theological baggage that laws of nature carry at the time, but not all of it. (shrink)
This paper provides epistemological support for one of Hume’s numerous critiques of the teleological arguments for God’s existence. Hume explores the following question: can we explain the observed harmony of the universe without appealing to the work of an intelligent creator? The answer, presented through the character of Philo, appears to be positive. I will try to defend this position. Following Hume’s theory of space, and exploring the relation between ideas of the whole and relation, I will show the universe (...) can be seen as finite space with definite numbers of parts which are spatially and causally interconnected. Because all changes occur on the basis of Hume’s principle of causation, we can say the harmony of the universe is established and maintained precisely because of the changes happening on the basis of causation. If this is the case, the role of the intelligent creator appears to be redundant. (shrink)
Nomological Humeanism has developed into a research program encompassing several variations on a single theme, namely, the view that laws are statements about regularities that we find in nature. After briefly revisiting an early form of nomological Humeanism in Hume’s critique of the idea of necessary connection, this article critically examines Lewis’ two-fold approach based on Humean supervenience and the best system account. We shall point out three limits of nomological Humeanism, which are widely recognized in the literature: its inadequacy (...) in view of physical theories, its explanatory circularity, and its purported anthropomorphism, all of which advocates of nomological Humeanism have attempted to overcome Humeanism. Lastly, we will argue that nomological Humeanism fails to provide a suitable notion of modality for laws of nature. This latter issue continues to represent a live challenge for empiricism in the philosophy of physical laws. (shrink)
According to Humeanism about the laws, the laws of nature are nothing over and above certain kinds of regularities about particular facts. Humeanism has often been accused of circularity: according to scientific practice laws often explain their instances, but on the Humean view they also reduce to the mosaic, which includes those instances. In this paper I formulate the circularity problem in a way that avoids a number of controversial assumptions routinely taken for granted in the literature, and against which (...) many extant responses are therefore ineffective. I then propose a solution that denies the alleged Humean commitment that laws are explained by their instances. The solution satisfies three desiderata that other solutions don’t: it provides independent motivation against the idea that Humean laws are explained by their instances; it specifies the sense in which Humean laws are nonetheless “nothing over and above” their instances; and it gives an alternative account of what does explain the laws, if not their instances. This solution, I will argue, is not only the simplest but also the oldest one: it appeals only to tools and theses whose first appearance predates the earliest statements of the circularity problem itself. (shrink)
Gözlemlenenlerden gözlemlen(e)meyenlere diğer bir deyişle genel yasalara ulaşma imkânı veren çıkarım yöntemi olarak tümevarımsal ya da endüktif akıl yürütmenin rasyonel olarak temellendirilmesinin imkanına yönelik soruşturma tarih içerisinde tümevarım sorunu ya da endüksiyon problemi olarak tezahür etmiştir. Bu sorunun temel argümanı tarihsel okumalara baktığımızda İskoç ampirist filozof David Hume tarafından öne sürülmüştür. Hume, tümevarımsal çıkarımlar temelinde, gözlenmeyen meseleler hakkındaki inançlarımıza hangi gerekçelerle ulaştığımızı soruşturmaktadır. Hume soruşturmasının sonucunda gözlemlenenden gözlemlen(e)meyen durumlara ilişkin yapılan olgu meseleleri ile ilgili bütün tümevarımsal akıl yürütmelerin dolaylı ya (...) da dolaysız olarak nedensellik ilişkisine ve bu ilişkinin temelinde yer alan doğanın düzenliliği ilkesi ya da “gelecek her zaman geçmişe benzer” önermesine dayandığını ifade ederek bütün tümevarımsal akıl yürütmelerde ortak olan geleceğin her zaman geçmişe benzeyeceği ifadesinin rasyonel olarak temellendirilmesinin mümkün olmadığını belirtmektedir. Bu bağlamda, çalışmada tümevarımsal akıl yürütme sonucunda ulaşılan sonuca inanmanın hiçbir rasyonel temelinin olamayacağı yönündeki Hume’un görüşü argüman formunda yeniden yapılandırılarak ortaya konulacaktır. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to explain the sense in which laws of physics are contingent. It argues, first, that contemporary Humean accounts cannot adequately explain the contingency of physical laws; and second, that Hume’s own arguments against the metaphysical necessity of causal connections are not applicable in this context. The paper concludes by arguing that contingency is an essentially emergent, macroscopic phenomenon: we can understand the contingency of fundamental physical laws only through their relation to the distribution of (...) macroscopic modal properties in the manifest world. (shrink)
Contemporary Humeans treat laws of nature as statements of exceptionless regularities that function as the axioms of the best deductive system. Such ‘Best System Accounts’ marry realism about laws with a denial of necessary connections among events. I argue that Hume’s predecessor, George Berkeley, offers a more sophisticated conception of laws, equally consistent with the absence of powers or necessary connections among events in the natural world. On this view, laws are not statements of regularities but the most general rules (...) God follows in producing the world. Pace most commentators, I argue that Berkeley’s view is neither instrumentalist nor reductionist. More important, the Berkeleyan Best System can solve some of the problems afflicting its Humean rivals, including the problems of theory choice and Nancy Cartwright’s ‘facticity’ dilemma. Some of these solutions are available in the contemporary context, without any appeal to God. Berkeley’s account deserves to be taken seriously in its own right. (shrink)
A highly influential position in the debate between nomological realists and antirealists (i.e., the debate about the metaphysical status of natural laws) is the regularist theory of laws. Its main feature is the defense of a humean metaphysics which denies the existence of real causal powers and necessary connections in nature. Regularism, however, rely on a traditional reading of Hume’s philosophy. In this paper we aim to revisit the discussion around laws of nature in light of nontraditional interpretations of his (...) work, often labeled as the ‘New Hume’. (shrink)
Humeans are often accused of accounting for natural laws in such a way that the fundamental entities that are supposed to explain the laws circle back and explain themselves. Loewer (2012) contends this is only the appearance of circularity. When it comes to the laws of nature, the Humean posits two kinds of explanation: metaphysical and scientific. The circle is then cut because the kind of explanation the laws provide for the fundamental entities is distinct from the kind of explanation (...) the entities provide for the laws. Lange (2013) has replied that Loewer’s defense is a distinction without a difference. As Lange sees it, Humeanism still produces a circular explanation because scientific explanations are transmitted across metaphysical explanations. We disagree that metaphysical explanation is such a ready conduit of scientific explanation. In what follows, we clear Humeanism of all charges of circularity by exploring how different kinds of explanation can and cannot interact. Our defense of Humeanism begins by presenting the circularity objection and detailing how it relies on an implausible principle about the transitivity of explanation. Then, we turn to Lange’s (2013) transitivity principle for explanation to argue that it fairs no better. With objections neutral to the debate between Humeanism and anti-Humeanism, we will show that his principle is not able to make the circularity objection sound. (shrink)
Many contemporary philosophers endorse the Humean-Lewisian Denial of Absolutely Necessary Connections (‘DANC’). Among those philosophers, many deny all or part of the Humean-Lewisian package of views about causation and laws. I argue that they maintain an inconsistent set of views. DANC entails that (1) causal properties and relations are, with a few possible exceptions, always extrinsic to their bearers, (2) nomic properties and relations are, with a few possible exceptions, always extrinsic to their bearers, and (3) causal and nomic properties (...) and relations globally supervene on non-causal, non-nomic properties and relations. Hence, one can’t be a consistent Half-Hearted Humean. Consistency demands giving up the core Humean thesis or facing up to its consequences. The upshot is that we face a stark choice: either there are absolutely necessary connections between distinct existents or it’s "just one damn thing after another.". (shrink)
Hume glaubte, die Kausalverknüpfung sei eine „secret connection“, also eine Verknüpfung, die mindestens unerkennbar, wenn nicht sogar inexis- tent ist. Einige moderne Gegner Humes halten dem entgegen, dass apos- teriorisch entdeckte, metaphysische Notwendigkeit, wie wir sie bei- spielsweise von Kripke und Putnam kennen, diejenige objektiv-reale Verknüpfung in der Welt ist, die auch die Rolle einer kausalen Verknüp- fung in der Welt spielen kann. Ich hinterfrage diese anti-Hume’sche Identifizierung kausaler mit me- taphysischer Notwendigkeit, zeige aber auch einen anderen Weg auf, kausale (...) Kräfte zu postulieren: Wenn unsere willentlichen Handlungen auf Widerstände in der Welt stoßen, haben wir (direkten) Beobachtungszu- gang zu einer Verknüpfung in der Welt, die mindestens einen essentiellen Teil kausaler Kraft ausmacht. (shrink)
In this paper I will introduce a problem for at least those Humeans who believe that the future is open. More particularly, I will argue that the following aspect of scientific practice cannot be explained by openfuture- Humeanism: There is a distinction between states that we cannot bring about (which are represented in scientific models as nomologically impossible) and states that we merely happen not to bring about. Open-future-Humeanism has no convincing account of this distinction. Therefore it fails to explain (...) why we cannot bring about certain states of affairs, it cannot explain what I call the “recalcitrance of nature”. (shrink)
It has often been argued that Humean accounts of natural law cannot account for the role played by laws in scientific explanations. Loewer (Philosophical Studies 2012) has offered a new reply to this argument on behalf of Humean accounts—a reply that distinguishes between grounding (which Loewer portrays as underwriting a kind of metaphysical explanation) and scientific explanation. I will argue that Loewer’s reply fails because it cannot accommodate the relation between metaphysical and scientific explanation. This relation also resolves a puzzle (...) about scientific explanation that Hempel and Oppenheim (Philosophy of Science 15:135–75, 1948) encountered. (shrink)
Many necessitarians about cause and law (Armstrong 1983; Mumford 2004; Bird 2007) have argued that Humeans are unable to justify their inductive inferences, as Humean laws are nothing but the sum of their instances. In this paper I argue against these necessitarian claims. I show that Armstrong is committed to the explanatory value of Humean laws (in the form of universally quantified statements), and that contra Armstrong, brute regularities often do have genuine explanatory value. I finish with a Humean attempt (...) at a probabilistic justification of induction, but this fails due to its assumption that the proportionality syllogism is justified. Although this attempt fails, I nonetheless show that the Humean is at least as justified in reasoning inductively as Armstrong. (shrink)
This conception of natural kinds might be dubbed a 'structural kinds' view. It is the conception of kinds offered by ExtOSR within a Humean framework. To invoke structural kinds also means to invoke structural laws. For laws generalize over ...
ABSTRACT: Appealing to the failure of counterfactual support is a standard device in refuting a Humean view on laws of nature: some true generalisations do not support relevant counterfactuals; therefore not every true general fact is a law of nature—so goes the refutation. I will argue that this strategy does not work, for our understanding of the truth-value of any counterfactual is grounded in our understanding of the lawhood of some statements related to it.
It is shown that Lewisâ ontological doctrine of Humean supervenience incorporates at its foundation the so-called separability principle of classical physics. In view of the systematic violation of the latter within quantum mechanics, the claim that contemporary physical science may posit non-supervenient relations beyond the spatiotemporal ones is reinforced on a foundational basis concerning constraints on the state representation of physical systems. Depending on the mode of assignment of states to quantum systems â unit state vectors versus statistical density operators (...) â we distinguish between strongly and weakly non-Humean, non-supervenient relations. It is demonstrated that in either case, the relations of quantum entanglement constitute prototypical examples of irreducible physical relations that do not supervene upon a spatiotemporal arrangement of Humean qualities, weakening, thereby, the thesis of Humean supervenience. In this respect, the status of Lewisâ recombination principle is examined, whereas his conception of lawhood is critically investigated. It is concluded that the assumption of ontological reductionism, as expressed in Lewisâ Humean doctrine, cannot be regarded as a reliable code of the nature of the physical world and its contents. It is proposed instead that due to the undeniable existence of non-supervenient relations, a metaphysic of relations of a moderate kind ought to be acknowledged as an indispensable part of our understanding of the natural world at a fundamental level. (shrink)
Causation and the laws of nature are nothing over and above the pattern of events, just like a movie is nothing over and above the sequence of frames. Or so I will argue. The position I will argue for is broadly inspired by Hume and Lewis, and may be expressed in the slogan: what must be, must be grounded in what is.
We always have a close interaction with systematic nature. Most of our behaviors, plannings, predictions, as well as our ideas and beliefs are due to the fact that we consider nature as controlled by the laws. Since the laws of nature are the main keys of human sciences, analysis and explanation of these laws were a part of the research of many great philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Ibn Sina, Hume, Mullah Sadra and Kant. In this paper, while referring to (...) some theories about the laws of nature, the author deals particularly with Hume’s standpoint, which is well-known as the viewpoint of “orderliness”; and then, he criticized it through distinguishing between perpetual propositions and necessary propositions. Keywords. (shrink)
Advocates and opponents of Humean Supervenience (HS) have neglected a crucial feature of nomic explanation: laws can explain by generating descriptions of possibilities. Dretske and Armstrong have opposed HS by arguing that laws construed as Humean regularities cannot explain, but their arguments fail precisely because they neglect to consider this generating role of laws. Humeans have dismissed the intuitive violations of HS manifested by John Carroll's Mirror Worlds as erroneous, but distinguishing the laws' generating role from the non-Humean notion that (...) laws govern undermines such responses, and renews the force of Carroll's critique of HS. However, it also undermines the assumption that HS is constitutive of Humeanism. The generating role of laws readily motivates a non-reductive Humeanism that violates HS. An account is sketched, and is seen to provide a novel explanation of the governing intuition. (shrink)
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 (...) that, we argue, enables HS to capture what is really stake in the debate, without taking on extraneous commitments. (shrink)
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.
A novel motivation for a Humean projectivist construal of our concept of scientific law is provided. The analysis is partially developed and used to explain intuitions that are problematic for a Humean reductionist construal of lawhood. A possible non-Humean rejoinder is discussed and rejected. In an appendix, further intuitions that are problematic for Humean reductionists are explained projectively.
Reductive Humeanism with regard to laws and chances, the view that law and chance claims are reducible to claims about Humean states of affairs, is a highly problematic doctrine. Even its most sophisticated contemporary version, espoused by David Lewis, leads to a litany of inadequately explained conflicts with our intuitions regarding laws, chances, and counterfactuals. The non-Humean alternative permits analyses that are adequate to the intuitive data. However, such analyses are insufficiently explanatory to be satisfactory. ;This dissertation motivates, elaborates, and (...) defends a third type of view, a non-reductive Humean projectivism on which law and chance claims are analysed in terms of an expressivist semantics. The benefit of this strategy is that it provides detailed explanations of the intuitions that are problematic for reductive Humeanism without relying on murky non-Humean explanations. However, there are numerous prima facie worries. Many philosophers surmise that the non-factual character of such an analysis must render law claims subjective or mind-dependent, or indeed, must lead to the denial of all law claims and, plausibly, all claims with nomic commitments of any kind. Further, there are technical worries, as represented by the Frege-Geach problem. The dissertation is responsive to such concerns, including the following features: A novel motivation of Humean projectivism is provided with reference to the explanatory goals of science. Detailed explanations of the intuitions that confound reductive Humeanism are provided. Notably, the analysis of chance laws is not susceptible to the problem of undermining futures, and further, the Principal Principle is both vindicated and justified. The Frege-Geach problem is solved using semantical tools of the kind developed by Allan Gibbard and Simon Blackburn. (shrink)
The twin conceptions of (1) natural law as causal structure and (2) explanation as passage from phenomenon to cause, are two sides of a certain philosophical coin, to which I shall offer an alternative – Humean – currency. The Humean alternative yokes together a version of the regularity conception of law and a conception of explanation as passage from one regularity, to another which has it as an instance but of which it is not itself an instance. I will show (...) that the regularity conception of law is the basis of a distinguished branch of physical mechanics; thus the Humean conception of law, like its better-loved rival, enjoys the support of a venerated tradition in mechanical theory – in fact, that strand which culminates in quantum theory. I shall also offer an account of explanatory asymmetry, a natural companion to the Humean conception of explanation as passage from one regularity to another of greater scope, as an alternative to van Fraassen’s unsatisfactory account. My account of asymmetry is just as free of reliance on context as it is free of reliance on cause. I shall thus proclaim that explanatory asymmetry is at once a reality deserving of philosophical treatment – one not to be given over to the care of psychology or linguistics – and at the same time susceptible of an account worthy of Hume. (shrink)
In this paper I put forward what I think is a new approach to the problem of induction. I sketched the approach in brief sections of a book published in 1983. The same idea had occurred to the English philosopher John Foster and he presented it in a paper at about the same time.
The well-known empiricist apories of the lawfulness of nature prevent an adequate philosophical interpretation of empirical science until this day. Clarification can only be expected through an immanent refutation of the empiricist point of view. My argument is that Hume’s claim, paradigmatic for modern empiricism, is not just inconsequent, but simply contradictory: Empiricism denies that a lawlike character of nature can be substantiated. But, as is shown, anyone who claimes experience to be the basis of knowledge (as the empiricist naturally (...) does), has, in fact, always already presupposed the lawfullness of nature, i.e. has assumed the ontology of a nature lawful in itself. If lawfulness is, more closely, understood as dependency on conditions, then the functional character of the laws of nature is involved with the consequence that verification is not to be taken as a mere repetition of measurements but as clarification of the conditional structure of the physical process. Furthermore the functionality of the laws of nature also includes a statement on their invariance (relative to certain transformations) and so their lawlikeness. This throws a new light on the problem of induction. Seen in this way it is hardly surprising that the notorious neglect of the functional aspect in empiricism has led to fundamental problems with the concept of the law of nature. (shrink)
Hume defined ‘cause’ three times over. The two principal definitions (constant conjunction, felt determination) provide the anchors for the two main strands of the modem empiricist accounts of laws of nature 1 while the third (the counter factual definition 2) may be seen as the inspiration of the nonHumean necessitarian analyses. Corresponding to the felt determination definition is the account of laws that emphasizes human attitudes, beliefs, and actions. Latter day weavers of this strand include Nelson Goodman, A. J. Ayer, (...) and Nicholas Rescher. In Fact, Fiction and Forecast Goodman writes: “I want to emphasize the Humean idea that rather than a sentence being used for prediction because it is a law, it is called a law because it is used for prediction” (1955, p. 62). In “What is a law of nature?”, Ayer explains that the difference between ‘generalizations of fact’ and ‘generalizations of law’ “lies not so much on the side of facts which make them true, as in the attitude of those who put them forward” (1956, p. 162). And in a similar vein, Rescher maintains that lawfulness is “mind-dependent”; it is not something which is discovered but which is supplied: “Lawfulness is not found in or extracted from the evidence but superadded to it. Lawfulness is a matter of imputation” (1970, p. 107). By contrast, the constant conjunction definition promotes the view that laws are to be analyzed in terms of the de re characteristics of regularities, independently of the attitudes and actions of actual or potential knowers. (shrink)
The paper considers recent proposals by Armstrong, Dretske, and Tooley that revive the view that statements of laws of nature are grounded by the existence of higher order facts relating universals. Several objections to such a view are raised and an alternative analysis, recognizing general facts, is considered. Such an alternative is shown to meet a number of the objections raised against the appeal to higher order facts and it is also related to views of Hume and Wittgenstein. Further objections (...) are then raised to all the non-Humean "realist" attempts to provide special facts to ground the laws of nature. (shrink)
For many years now a “principle of uncertainty” has played a major role in all discussion of the problem of scientific law as description of nature. That this principle had its origin in the efforts of science to describe nature is entirely appropriate; that it has had so immediate an effect on philosophic thought is inevitable.It is also inevitable that questions should be raised concerning the meaning of certainty and its reference to descriptive law. Such questions are bound to occur (...) to one who is concerned about the kinds of law in terms of which nature might be described. If these kinds can be considered to be two, one “mechanical,” the other “statistical,” it appears to be an easy step from the assertion of a principle of uncertainty which requires that the description of elemental processes and facts of nature be statistical—in terms of probabilities, that is—to a further assertion that after all a strictly mechanical description of nature is impossible, since the observational data which constitute its material are approximate and probable, and because the laws which provide the formal element of that description can never be more than approximately or probably true. It is concluded, then, that no element of certainty attaches to the so-called mechanical laws, any more than to others that are avowedly statistical. When a prediction is based on either sort of law, it is taken to be a prediction that an event will probablyoccur. (shrink)
Conceptual problems for consciousness are analogous to a Humean’s problem with scientific laws. Just as consciousness is often seen to involve further facts beyond the physical, laws would seem to involve reality beyond the Humean’s occurrent facts1. I will attempt to show that a Lewis-style best-system solution to the problem for laws should be applied to the related problem for consciousness. The leading idea of a best-system account is that law and chance claims are true in virtue of their place (...) in ideal systematic treatment of the totality of occurrent fact. Nomic facts about law and chance, then, are not “further facts” beyond the occurrent; rather they are a matter of idealized scientific theory. (shrink)
I was seven or eight years old. In Hebrew school we had just learned the Aleph-Bet and were, haltingly, beginning to sound out words. As we spoke the ancient text, our teacher translated: "... And God said: 'Let there be light.' And there was light. ..."[note 2] Here was magic; here was the supernatural; here was the creation of the universe. I resonated to the story. I was filled with wonder, far more than had ever been elicited by any fairy (...) tale my parents had read to me. I pictured in my imagination the majesty of it: God speaks and Nature obeys. (shrink)
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 easily 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 (...) that, we argue, enables HS to capture what is really stake in the debate, without taking on extraneous commitments. (shrink)