Humeanism and Nonhumeanism about Laws

Edited by Markus Schrenk (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
Assistant editor: Florian J. Boge (Bergische Universität Wuppertal)
About this topic
Summary Anti-Humeans have the feeling that natural laws govern the events in the world: what a law says must happen (or, what a law forbids can’t happen). This intuition might partially originate in our actual day-to-day experiences when we feel resistance against some of our actions. Some goals are not merely difficult to achieve, they are  impossible: we cannot, unaided, jump 10m high. In concert with the facts about our current body mass, leg muscles, and the earth’s gravitational field, the laws of nature prohibit this kind of leap. For Humeans, laws have more of a descriptive character: the laws are (merely) accurate reports of what regularly happens or is universally the case. This intuition comes from the observation that nature seems to be uniform. Alleged laws like Boyle's law (which says that for a fixed amount of an ideal gas kept at a fixed temperature, pressure and volume are inversely proportional (pV=k)) or Einstein’s famous mass-energy equivalence (E=mc2) record these universal regularities. Those who hold the anti-Humean, first intuition (that the laws necessitate what happens and prohibit what does not happen) do not think the second intuition is wrong. In fact, if, what the laws say, must happen, then it also does happen and we get the regularities for free. The necessities in nature supposedly produce the regularities and thus explain why they are there. Yet, those who subscribe to some kind of regularity view deny that laws necessitate anything because they usually agree with David Hume that the postulation of necessity in nature is suspect.
Key works The most important Humean view comes from David Lewis: Lewis 2001  (esp. pp. 73-77), Lewis 1999  (esp. pp. 8-55 and 224-247). The orthodox anti-Humean accounts are in Armstrong, Tooley, and Dretske: Armstrong 1983Tooley 1997Dretske 1977. Modern anti-Humean accounts come, for example, from dispositionalists: Mumford & Anjum 2011, Bird 2007Ellis 2001
Introductions Psillos 2002
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167 found
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1 — 50 / 167
  1. added 2020-06-01
    The Governance of Laws of Nature: Guidance and Production.Tobias Wilsch - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-25.
    Realists about laws of nature and their Humean opponents disagree on whether laws ‘govern’. An independent commitment to the ‘governing conception’ of laws pushes many towards the realist camp. Despite its significance, however, no satisfactory account of governance has been offered. The goal of this article is to develop such an account. I base my account on two claims. First, we should distinguish two notions of governance, ‘guidance’ and ‘production’, and secondly, explanatory phenomena other than laws are also candidates for (...)
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  2. added 2020-04-20
    Non‐Humean Theories of Natural Necessity.Tyler Hildebrand - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (5):1-1.
    Non‐Humean theories of natural necessity invoke modally‐laden primitives to explain why nature exhibits lawlike regularities. However, they vary in the primitives they posit and in their subsequent accounts of laws of nature and related phenomena (including natural properties, natural kinds, causation, counterfactuals, and the like). This article provides a taxonomy of non‐Humean theories, discusses influential arguments for and against them, and describes some ways in which differences in goals and methods can motivate different versions of non‐Humeanism (and, for that matter, (...)
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  3. added 2020-04-20
    The oldest solution to the circularity problem for Humeanism about the laws of nature.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - Synthese:1-21.
    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 (...)
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  4. added 2020-04-20
    On the Very Idea of Distant Correlations.Márton Gömöri - 2020 - Foundations of Physics 50 (6):530-554.
    Contemporary debate over laws of nature centers around Humean supervenience, the thesis that everything supervenes on the distribution of non-nomic facts. The key ingredient of this thesis is the idea that nomic-like concepts—law, chance, causation, etc.—are expressible in terms of the regularities of non-nomic facts. Inherent to this idea is the tacit conviction that regularities, “constant conjunctions” of non-nomic facts do supervene on the distribution of non-nomic facts. This paper raises a challenge for this conviction. It will be pointed out (...)
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  5. added 2020-02-27
    Humean Laws, Circularity, and Contrastivity.Pablo Carnino - forthcoming - Synthese:1-19.
    A well-known objection to Humean accounts of laws charges them with circularity. While the view has it that particular facts explain the natural laws, natural laws are often relied upon in order to explain particular facts. Thus, the Humean is committed to circular explanations—or so goes the argument. In this paper, I review two ways of dealing with the circularity objection against Humean views of laws. Then, by introducing a contrastive treatment of explanations, I put forward a new one, which, (...)
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  6. added 2020-02-24
    Powerful Properties, Powerless Laws.Heather Demarest - 2017 - In Jonathan D. Jacobs (ed.), Causal Powers. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. pp. 38-53.
    I argue that the best scientific package is anti-Humean in its ontology, but Humean in its laws. This is because potencies and the best system account of laws complement each other surprisingly well. If there are potencies, then the BSA is the most plausible account of the laws of nature. Conversely, if the BSA is the correct theory of laws, then formulating the laws in terms of potencies rather than categorical properties avoids three serious objections: the mismatch objection, the impoverished (...)
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  7. added 2020-01-10
    Individuation and Explanation: A Problem for Dispositionalism.Tyler Hildebrand - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-21.
    According to dispositionalism, fundamental properties are dispositions—powers that don’t reduce to other properties, laws, or anything else. As dispositions manifest, natural regularities result, so this view appears to explain the uniformity of nature. However, in this paper I’ll argue that there are types of regularities that can’t be explained by dispositionalism. The basic idea is this. All accounts of fundamental dispositions endow properties with a certain sort of structure. This allows explanations of only those regularities that align with such structures. (...)
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  8. added 2020-01-09
    Why Do the Laws Support Counterfactuals?Chris Dorst - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-22.
    This paper aims to explain why the laws of nature are held fixed in counterfactual reasoning. I begin by highlighting three salient features of counterfactual reasoning: it is conservative, nomically guided, and it uses hindsight. I then present a rationale for our engagement in counterfactual reasoning that aims to make sense of these features. In particular, I argue that counterfactual reasoning helps us evaluate the evidential relations between unanticipated pieces of evidence and various hypotheses of interest about the history of (...)
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  9. added 2020-01-09
    Consecuencias de Las Interpretaciones Actuales de la Metafísica Humeana En El Debate Sobre Las Leyes de Na Naturaleza.Bruno Borge & Roberto Azar - 2015 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 19 (2):247-262.
    A highly influential position in the debate between nomological realists and antirealists 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’.
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  10. added 2019-12-14
    Humean Laws and (Nested) Counterfactuals.Christian Loew & Siegfried Jaag - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (278):93-113.
    Humean reductionism about laws of nature is the view that the laws reduce to the total distribution of non-modal or categorical properties in spacetime. A worry about Humean reductionism is that it cannot motivate the characteristic modal resilience of laws under counterfactual suppositions and that it thus generates wrong verdicts about certain nested counterfactuals. In this paper, we defend Humean reductionism by motivating an account of the modal resilience of Humean laws that gets nested counterfactuals right.
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  11. added 2019-11-16
    Local Qualities.Elizabeth Miller - 2019 - In Karen Bennett & Dean Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. pp. 224-241.
    For Humean atomists, cosmic contents supervene on a spatiotemporal mosaic of modally insulated, freely recombinable local qualities. One piecemeal subspecies of Humean atomism promises more than global supervenience—somehow or other—on a separable base; it constrains how exactly elemental inputs yield everything else. Roughly, the distribution of basic local qualities across elements in one part of our cosmos metaphysically suffices for the complete local physical state of that part: anything sharing this part’s basic elemental decoration should share its more complete contents, (...)
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  12. added 2019-10-29
    Platonic Laws of Nature.Tyler Hildebrand - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (3):365-381.
    David Armstrong accepted the following three theses: universals are immanent, laws are relations between universals, and laws govern. Taken together, they form an attractive position, for they promise to explain regularities in nature—one of the most important desiderata for a theory of laws and properties—while remaining compatible with naturalism. However, I argue that the three theses are incompatible. The basic idea is that each thesis makes an explanatory claim, but the three claims can be shown to run in a problematic (...)
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  13. added 2019-10-28
    Humeans Are Out of This World.Erica Shumener - forthcoming - Synthese.
    I defend the following argument in this paper. Premise 1: Laws of nature are intrinsic to the universe. Premise 2: Humeanism maintains that laws of nature are extrinsic to the universe. Conclusion: Humeanism is false. This argument is inspired by John Hawthorne’s (2004) argument in “Why Humeans are out of their Minds”. My argument differs from his; Hawthorne focuses on Humean views of causation and how they interact with judgments about consciousness. He thinks Humeans are forced to treat certain mental (...)
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  14. added 2019-10-12
    Necessary Laws and Chemical Kinds.Nora Berenstain - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (4):631-647.
    Contingentism, generally contrasted with law necessitarianism, is the view that the laws of nature are contingent. It is often coupled with the claim that their contingency is knowable a priori. This paper considers Bird's (2001, 2002, 2005, 2007) arguments for the thesis that, necessarily, salt dissolves in water; and it defends his view against Beebee's (2001) and Psillos's (2002) contingentist objections. A new contingentist objection is offered and several reasons for scepticism about its success are raised. It is concluded that (...)
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  15. added 2019-09-30
    II—Evolved Powers, Artefact Powers, and Dispositional Explanations.Barbara Vetter - 2018 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 92 (1):277-297.
    Alexander Bird puts forward a modest version of anti-Humeanism about the non-fundamental, by providing an argument for the existence of a certain select class of non-fundamental but sparse dispositions: those that have an evolutionary function. I argue that his argument over-generates, so much so that the sparse–abundant distinction, and with it the tenet of his anti-Humean view, becomes obsolete. I suggest an alternative way of understanding anti-Humeanism in the non-fundamental realm, one which is not concerned with the existence of sparse (...)
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  16. added 2019-09-26
    The Universe as an Ongoing Enterprise: Commentary on The Metaphysics Within Physics by Tim Maudlin. [REVIEW]Emiliano Boccardi - 2011 - Humana Mente 4 (19).
  17. added 2019-09-14
    What Humeans Should Say About Tied Best Systems.Christian Loew & Siegfried Jaag - 2020 - Analysis 80 (2):273-282.
    The Humean best systems account identifies laws of nature with the regularities in a system of truths that, as a whole, best conforms to scientific standards for theory-choice. A principled problem for the BSA is that it returns the wrong verdicts about laws in cases where multiple systems, containing different regularities, satisfy these standards equally well. This problem affects every version of the BSA because it arises regardless of which standards for theory-choice Humeans adopt. In this paper, we propose a (...)
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  18. added 2019-09-08
    Are Non-Accidental Regularities a Cosmic Coincidence? Revisiting a Central Threat to Humean Laws.Aldo Filomeno - forthcoming - Synthese:1-1.
    If the laws of nature are as the Humean believes, it is an unexplained cosmic coincidence that the actual Humean mosaic is as extremely regular as it is. This is a strong and well-known objection to the Humean account of laws. Yet, as reasonable as this objection may seem, it is nowadays sometimes dismissed. The reason: its unjustified implicit assignment of equiprobability to each possible Humean mosaic; that is, its assumption of the principle of indifference, which has been attacked on (...)
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  19. added 2019-09-06
    Towards a Best Predictive System Account of Laws of Nature.Chris Dorst - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):877-900.
    This article argues for a revised best system account of laws of nature. David Lewis’s original BSA has two main elements. On the one hand, there is the Humean base, which is the totality of particular matters of fact that obtain in the history of the universe. On the other hand, there is what I call the ‘nomic formula’, which is a particular operation that gets applied to the Humean base in order to output the laws of nature. My revised (...)
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  20. added 2019-08-16
    Laws of Nature, Explanation, and Semantic Circularity.Erica Shumener - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):787-815.
    Humeans and anti-Humeans agree that laws of nature should explain scientifically particular matters of fact. One objection to Humean accounts of laws contends that Humean laws cannot explain particular matters of fact because their explanations are harmfully circular. This article distinguishes between metaphysical and semantic characterizations of the circularity and argues for a new semantic version of the circularity objection. The new formulation suggests that Humean explanations are harmfully circular because the content of the sentences being explained is part of (...)
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  21. added 2019-08-10
    Alien Worlds, Alien Laws, and the Humean Conceivability Argument.Lok‐Chi Chan, David Braddon‐Mitchell & Andrew James Latham - 2020 - Ratio 33 (1):1-13.
    Monism is our name for a range of views according to which the connection between dispositions and their categorical bases is intimate and necessary, or on which there are no categorical bases at all. In contrast, Dualist views hold that the connection between dispositions and their categorical bases is distant and contingent. This paper is a defence of Monism against an influential conceivability argument in favour of Dualism. The argument suggests that the apparent possibility of causal behaviour coming apart from (...)
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  22. added 2019-07-22
    Hume and the Laws of Nature.Michael Jacovides - manuscript
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  23. added 2019-07-18
    Ideal Laws, Counterfactual Preservation, and the Analyses of Lawhood.Peter Tan - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-16.
    This paper presents a unified argument against three widely held contemporary analyses of lawhood—Humean reductionism about laws, the dispositionalist view of laws, and the view of laws as relation...
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  24. added 2019-07-04
    Naturalness Constraints on Best Systems Accounts of Laws.Tyler Hildebrand - 2019 - Ratio 32 (3):163-172.
    According to best systems accounts, laws of nature are generalizations in the best systematization of particular matters of fact. Metrics such as simplicity and strength determine which systematization is best, but these are notoriously language relative. For this reason, David Lewis proposed a constraint on languages of inquiry: all predicates must be natural. This constraint is sometimes interpreted as requiring us to know which natural properties are instantiated in our world prior to scientific theorizing. I argue that this interpretation is (...)
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  25. added 2019-06-07
    Stable Regularities Without Governing Laws?Aldo Filomeno - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 66:186-197.
    Can stable regularities be explained without appealing to governing laws or any other modal notion? In this paper, I consider what I will call a ‘Humean system’—a generic dynamical system without guiding laws—and assess whether it could display stable regularities. First, I present what can be interpreted as an account of the rise of stable regularities, following from Strevens [2003], which has been applied to explain the patterns of complex systems (such as those from meteorology and statistical mechanics). Second, since (...)
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  26. added 2019-06-06
    Dretsky and Armstrong on Regularity Analyses and Explanation.Barry Ward - 2004 - Southwest Philosophy Review 20 (1):193-200.
  27. added 2019-05-02
    Berkeley’s Best System: An Alternative Approach to Laws of Nature.Walter Ott - 2019 - Journal of Modern Philosophy 1 (1):4.
    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 (...)
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  28. added 2019-05-02
    Time, Leeway, and the Laws of Nature: Why Humean Compatibilists Cannot Be Eternalists.Andrei A. Buckareff - 2019 - Metaphysica 20 (1):51-71.
    Humean compatibilism combines a Humean conception of laws of nature with a strong dual-ability condition for free will that requires that agents possess the ability to decide differently when they make a free decision. On the Humean view of laws of nature, laws of nature are taken to be contingent non-governing descriptions of significant regularities that obtain in the entire history of the universe. On Humean compatibilism, agents are taken to possess dual ability when making free decisions because what the (...)
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  29. added 2019-04-26
    Scientific Practice and Necessary Connections.Andreas Hüttemann - 2014 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 29 (1):29-39.
    There have been various attempts to argue from the _success_ of certain aspects of scientific practice to the existence of necessary connections between distinct events. Many of these arguments are based on an inference to the best explanation. I will start by reviewing some of these IBE arguments as well as their recent critique by Helen Beebee. Beebee’s critique is convincing with regard to the particular arguments she criticises. I will, however, present other aspects of scientific practice that need to (...)
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  30. added 2019-04-24
    Scientific Practice and the Epistemology of Governing Laws.Tyler Hildebrand - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (2):174-188.
    This article is concerned with the relationship between scientific practice and the metaphysics of laws of nature and natural properties. I begin by examining an argument by Michael Townsen Hicks and Jonathan Schaffer that an important feature of scientific practice—namely, that scientists sometimes invoke non-fundamental properties in fundamental laws—is incompatible with metaphysical theories according to which laws govern. I respond to their argument by developing an epistemology for governing laws that is grounded in scientific practice. This epistemology is of general (...)
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  31. added 2019-04-22
    Is It Time for a Nietzschean Genealogy of Laws of Nature?: Walter Ott, Lydia Patton : Laws of Nature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, X+264pp, $65 HB. [REVIEW]Jason Winning - 2019 - Metascience 28 (2):269-271.
  32. added 2019-04-22
    Humean Laws in an unHumean World.Samuel Kimpton-nye - 2017 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 3 (2):129-147.
    I argue that an unHumean ontology of irreducibly dispositional properties might be fruitfully combined with what has typically been thought of as a Humean account of laws, namely, the best-system account, made popular by David Lewis (e.g., 1983, 1986, 1994). In this paper I provide the details of what I argue is the most defensible account of Humean laws in an unHumean world. This package of views has the benefits of upholding scientific realism while doing without any suspect metaphysical entities (...)
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  33. added 2019-03-04
    Best Before Date Necessity: A Reply to Psillos.Eduardo Castro - 2019 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 50 (1):163-169.
    This discussion paper is a reply to Stathis Psillos’ paper “Induction and Natural Necessities” :327–340, (2017), published in this journal. In that paper, he attempts to refute David Armstrong’s solution to the problem of induction. To accomplish this desideratum, he proposes that the best explanation for our observed regularities is a sort of “best before date” necessity. That is, necessary connections may break down and are not by default timeless. He develops arguments against my :67–82, (2014) defence of the necessitarian (...)
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  34. added 2019-01-30
    What is the Significance of the Intuition That Laws of Nature Govern?Susan Schneider - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):307-324.
    Recently, proponents of Humean Supervenience have challenged the plausibility of the intuition that the laws of nature ‘govern’, or guide, the evolution of events in the universe. Certain influential thought experiments authored by John Carroll, Michael Tooley, and others, rely strongly on such intuitions. These thought experiments are generally regarded as playing a central role in the lawhood debate, suggesting that the Mill-Ramsey-Lewis view of the laws of nature, and the related doctrine of the Humean Supervenience of laws, are false. (...)
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  35. added 2019-01-18
    Idealization and the Laws of Nature.Billy Wheeler - 2018 - Switzerland: Springer.
    This new study provides a refreshing look at the issue of exceptions and shows that much of the problem stems from a failure to recognize at least two kinds of exception-ridden law: ceteris paribus laws and ideal laws. Billy Wheeler offers the first book-length discussion of ideal laws. The key difference between these two kinds of laws concerns the nature of the conditions that need to be satisfied and their epistemological role in the law’s formulation and discovery. He presents a (...)
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  36. added 2018-12-03
    Dynamic Humeanism.Michael Townsen Hicks - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):983-1007.
    Humean accounts of laws of nature fail to distinguish between dynamic laws and static initial conditions. But this distinction plays a central role in scientific theorizing and explanation. I motivate the claim that this distinction should matter for the Humean, and show that current views lack the resources to explain it. I then develop a regularity theory that captures this distinction. My view takes empirical accessibility to be one of the primary features of laws, and I identify features laws must (...)
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  37. added 2018-12-03
    The Concept of Physical Law by Norman Swartz. [REVIEW]Lawrence Sklar - 1990 - Journal of Philosophy 87 (8):432-435.
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  38. added 2018-11-16
    Humean Libertarianism: Outline of a Revisionist Account of the Joint Problem of Free Will, Determinism and Laws of Nature.Marius Backmann - 2013 - Frankfurt: ontos.
    3 LIBERTARIANISM Now that we have discussed determinism and laws of nature, let us finally turn to libertarianism. Traditionally, libertarianism has been viewed as an incompatibilist theory of free will, as it requires the existence of real ...
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  39. added 2018-10-10
    Reply to Skow.John T. Roberts - 2007 - 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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  40. added 2018-08-06
    Are Laws of Nature Consistent with Contingency?Nancy Cartwright & Pedro Merlussi - 2018 - In Walter Ott & Lydia Patton (eds.), Laws of Nature. Oxford, UK:
    Are the laws of nature consistent with contingency about what happens in the world? That depends on what the laws of nature actually are, but it also depends on what they are like. The latter is the concern of this chapter, which looks at three views that are widely endorsed: ‘Humean’ regularity accounts, laws as relations among universals, and disposition/powers accounts. Given an account of what laws are, what follows about how much contingency, and of what kinds, laws allow? In (...)
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  41. added 2018-07-12
    Humean Laws, Explanatory Circularity, and the Aim of Scientific Explanation.Chris Dorst - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (10):2657-2679.
    One of the main challenges confronting Humean accounts of natural law is that Humean laws appear to be unable to play the explanatory role of laws in scientific practice. The worry is roughly that if the laws are just regularities in the particular matters of fact (as the Humean would have it), then they cannot also explain the particular matters of fact, on pain of circularity. Loewer (2012) has defended Humeanism, arguing that this worry only arises if we fail to (...)
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  42. added 2018-06-15
    Humeanism and Exceptions in the Fundamental Laws of Physics.Billy Wheeler - 2017 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 21 (3):317-337.
    It has been argued that the fundamental laws of physics do not face a ‘problem of provisos’ equivalent to that found in other scientific disciplines (Earman, Roberts and Smith 2002) and there is only the appearance of exceptions to physical laws if they are confused with differential equations of evolution type (Smith 2002). In this paper I argue that even if this is true, fundamental laws in physics still pose a major challenge to standard Humean approaches to lawhood, as they (...)
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  43. added 2018-06-05
    Metaphysics of the Principle of Least Action.Vladislav Terekhovich - 2018 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 62:189-201.
    Despite the importance of the variational principles of physics, there have been relatively few attempts to consider them for a realistic framework. In addition to the old teleological question, this paper continues the recent discussion regarding the modal involvement of the principle of least action and its relations with the Humean view of the laws of nature. The reality of possible paths in the principle of least action is examined from the perspectives of the contemporary metaphysics of modality and Leibniz's (...)
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  44. added 2018-06-03
    Making Best Systems Best for Us.Siegfried Jaag & Christian Loew - 2018 - Synthese:1-26.
    Humean reductionism about laws of nature appears to leave a central aspect of scientific practice unmotivated: If the world’s fundamental structure is exhausted by the actual distribution of non-modal properties and the laws of nature are merely efficient summaries of this distribution, then why does science posit laws that cover a wide range of non-actual circumstances? In this paper, we develop a new version of the Humean best systems account of laws based on the idea that laws need to organize (...)
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  45. added 2018-05-29
    The Limits of Humeanism.Jesse Mulder - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8 (3):671-687.
    Humeans take reality to be devoid of ‘necessary connections’: things just happen. Laws of nature are to be understood in terms of what ‘just happens’, not vice versa. Here the Humean needs some conception of what it is that ‘just happens’ – a conception of the Humean mosaic. Lewis’s Humeanism incorporates such a conception in the form of a Lewis-style metaphysics of objects, properties, and modality. Newer versions of Humeanism about laws of nature, such as the Better Best Systems approach, (...)
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  46. added 2018-05-23
    Nomothetic Explanation and Humeanism About Laws of Nature.Harjit Bhogal - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics.
    Humeanism about laws of nature — the view that the laws reduce to the Humean mosaic — is a popular view, but currently existing versions face powerful objections. The non-supervenience objection, the non-fundamentality objection and the explanatory circularity objection have all been thought to cause problems for the Humean. However, these objections share a guiding thought — they are all based on the idea that there is a certain kind of divergence between the practice of science and the metaphysical picture (...)
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  47. added 2018-03-17
    Metaphysics of Laws and Ontology of Time.Cord Friebe - 2018 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 33 (1):77-89.
    At first glance, every metaphysics of laws can be combined with every ontology of time. In contrast, the paper intends to show that Humeanism requires eternalism and that Power metaphysics must presuppose an existentially dynamical view of temporal existence, i.e. growing block or presentism. The presented arguments turn out to be completely independent of whether the laws of nature are deterministic or probabilistic: the world is non-productive and static or productively dynamical, the future be ‘open’ or not.
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  48. added 2018-01-16
    Regularities, Natural Patterns and Laws of Nature.Stathis Psillos - 2014 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 29 (1):9-27.
    The goal of this paper is to sketch an empiricist metaphysics of laws of nature. The key idea is that there are regularities without regularity-enforcers. Differently put, there are natural laws without law-makers _of a distinct metaphysical kind_. This sketch will rely on the concept of a natural pattern and more significantly on the existence of a network of natural patterns in nature. The relation between a regularity and a pattern will be analysed in terms of mereology. Here is the (...)
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  49. added 2018-01-08
    Genuine Violations of Laws.Tobias Wilsch - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-16.
    Could laws of nature be violated, in the sense that some proposition is both a law and false? I argue that opponents of regularity theories of laws should accept the metaphysical possibility of such genuine violations. I begin with a clarification of this claim. The main argument is then developed in three steps. I first argue that opponents of regularity theory should endorse the modal-essence view: certain modal principles are essential to the laws of nature. Second, I argue that the (...)
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  50. added 2017-11-02
    Laws of Nature, Natural Properties, and the Robustly Best System.Michela Massimi - 2017 - The Monist 100 (3):406-421.
    This paper addresses a famous objection against David Lewis’s Best System Analysis (BSA) of laws of nature. The objection—anticipated and discussed by Lewis (1994)—focuses on the standards of simplicity and strength being (in part) a matter of psychology. Lewis’s answer to the objection relies on his metaphysics of natural properties and its ability to single out the robustly best system, a system that is expected to come out far ahead of its rivals under any standard of simplicity and strength. The (...)
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