Laws of Nature, Misc

Edited by Markus Schrenk (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
Assistant editor: Florian J. Boge (Bergische Universität Wuppertal)
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Summary Please see middle category "laws of nature".
Key works Please see middle category "laws of nature".
Introductions Please see middle category "laws of nature".
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443 found
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1 — 50 / 443
  1. Space, Pure Intuition, and Laws in the Metaphysical Foundations.James Messina - manuscript
    I am interested in the use Kant makes of the pure intuition of space, and of properties and principles of space and spaces (i.e. figures, like spheres and lines), in the special metaphysical project of MAN. This is a large topic, so I will focus here on an aspect of it: the role of these things in his treatment of some of the laws of matter treated in the Dynamics and Mechanics Chapters. In MAN and other texts, Kant speaks of (...)
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  2. Counterfactuals, Irreversible Laws and The Direction of Time.Terrance A. Tomkow - manuscript
    The principle of Information Conservation or Determinism is a governing assumption of physical theory. Determinism has counterfactual consequences. It entails that if the present were different, then the future would be different. But determinism is temporally symmetric: it entails that if the present were different, the past would also have to be different. This runs contrary to our commonsense intuition that what has happened in the future depends on the past in a way the past does not depend on the (...)
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  3. Why Confirm Laws?Barry Ward - manuscript
    We argue that a particular approach to satisfying the broad predictive ambitions of the sciences demands law confirmation. On this approach we confirm non-nomic generalizations by confirming there are no actually realized ways of causing disconfirming cases. This gives causal generalizations a crucial role in prediction. We then show how rational judgements of relevant causal similarity can be used to confirm that causal generalizations themselves have no actual disconfirmers, providing a distinctive and clearly viable methodology for inductively confirming them. Finally, (...)
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  4. Disagreement About Scientific Ontology.Bruno Borge - forthcoming - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie:1-17.
    In this paper, I analyze some disagreements about scientific ontology as cases of disagreement between epistemic peers. I maintain that the particularities of these cases are better understood if epistemic peerhood is relativized to a perspective-like index of epistemic goals and values. Taking the debate on the metaphysics of laws of nature as a case study, I explore the limits and possibilities of a trans-perspective assessment of positions regarding scientific ontology.
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  5. Fundamental Nomic Vagueness.Eddy Keming Chen - forthcoming - Philosophical Review.
    If there are fundamental laws of nature, can they fail to be exact? In this paper, I consider the possibility that some fundamental laws are vague. I call this phenomenon 'fundamental nomic vagueness.' I characterize fundamental nomic vagueness as the existence of borderline lawful worlds and the presence of several other accompanying features. Under certain assumptions, such vagueness prevents the fundamental physical theory from being completely expressible in the mathematical language. Moreover, I suggest that such vagueness can be regarded as (...)
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  6. Principles, Laws and Theories: The Fabric of Science.C. Dilworth - forthcoming - Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science.
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  7. 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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  8. Counterfactual Reasoning Within Physical Theories.Samuel C. Fletcher - forthcoming - Synthese:1-22.
    If one is interested in reasoning counterfactually within a physical theory, one cannot adequately use the standard possible world semantics. As developed by Lewis and others, this semantics depends on entertaining possible worlds with miracles, worlds in which laws of nature, as described by physical theory, are violated. Van Fraassen suggested instead to use the models of a theory as worlds, but gave up on determining the needed comparative similarity relation for the semantics objectively. I present a third way, in (...)
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  9. On the Explanatory Power of Dispositional Realism.Nélida Gentile & Susana Lucero - forthcoming - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie:1-16.
    The article focuses on the unifying and explanatory power of the selective realism defended by Anjan Chakravartty. Our main aim is twofold. First, we critically analyse the purported synthesis between entity realism and structural realism offered by the author. We give reasons to think that this unification is an inconvenient marriage. In the second step, we deal with certain controversial aspects of the intended unification among three metaphysical concepts: causation, laws of nature and natural kinds. After pointing out that Chakravartty’s (...)
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  10. Invariances in transformational emergence.Paul Humphreys - forthcoming - Synthese:1-12.
    This paper examines some possibilities for the laws of nature changing over time. This is done within the context of recent literature on transformational emergence. Transformational emergence is a diachronic account of emergence that does not require the invariance of fundamental objects, properties, and laws. The requirement that no new laws are introduced after the first instance of the universe seems to indicate that all the laws of the universe are present from the outset. By using a dispositional approach to (...)
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  11. Kant’s Theoretical Philosophy: The ‘Analytic’ Tradition.James O'Shea - forthcoming - In Sorin Baiasu & Mark Timmons (eds.), The Kantian Mind. Routledge.
    ABSTRACT: In a previous article (O’Shea 2006) I provided a concise overview of the reception of Kant’s philosophy among analytic philosophers during the periods from the ‘early analytic’ reactions to Kant in Frege, Russell, Carnap and others, to the systematic Kant-inspired works in epistemology and metaphysics of C. I. Lewis and P. F. Strawson, in particular. In this chapter I use the recently reinvigorated work of Wilfrid Sellars (1912–1989) in the second half of the twentieth century as the basis for (...)
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  12. Comments on Watkins, 'Kant on Laws'.Marius Stan - forthcoming - Studi Kantiani.
    Comments on Eric Watkins, "Kant on Laws" (Cambridge, 2019).
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  13. From Metaphysical Principles to Dynamical Laws.Marius Stan - forthcoming - In David Marshall Miller & Dana Jalobeanu (eds.), The Cambridge History of Philosophy of the Scientific Revolution. New York, NY, USA:
    My thesis in this paper is: the modern concept of laws of motion—qua dynamical laws—emerges in 18th-century mechanics. The driving factor for it was the need to extend mechanics beyond the centroid theories of the late-1600s. The enabling result behind it was the rise of differential equations. -/- In consequence, by the mid-1700s we see a deep shift in the form and status of laws of motion. The shift is among the critical inflection points where early modern mechanics turns into (...)
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  14. What’s So Spatial About Time Anyway?Sam Baron & Peter W. Evans - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (1):159-183.
    Skow ([2007]), and much more recently Callender ([2017]), argue that time can be distinguished from space due to the special role it plays in our laws of nature: our laws determine the behaviour of physical systems across time, but not across space. In this work we assess the claim that the laws of nature might provide the basis for distinguishing time from space. We find that there is an obvious reason to be sceptical of the argument Skow submits for distinguishing (...)
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  15. Kant, Causation and Laws of Nature.James Hutton - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 86:93-102.
    In the Second Analogy, Kant argues that every event has a cause. It remains disputed what this conclusion amounts to. Does Kant argue only for the Weak Causal Principle that every event has some cause, or for the Strong Causal Principle that every event is produced according to a universal causal law? Existing interpretations have assumed that, by Kant’s lights, there is a substantive difference between the two. I argue that this is false. Kant holds that the concept of cause (...)
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  16. The Potency of the Butterfly: The Reception of Richard B. Goldschmidt’s Animal Experiments in German Sexology Around 1920.Ina Linge - 2021 - History of the Human Sciences 34 (1):40-70.
    This article considers the sexual politics of animal evidence in the context of German sexology around 1920. In the 1910s, the German-Jewish geneticist Richard B. Goldschmidt conducted experiments on the moth Lymantria dispar, and discovered individuals that were no longer clearly identifiable as male or female. When he published an article tentatively arguing that his research on ‘intersex butterflies’ could be used to inform concurrent debates about human homosexuality, he triggered a flurry of responses from Berlin-based sexologists. In this article, (...)
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  17. Watkins on Kant’s Laws of Nature.Janum Sethi - 2021 - Kantian Review 26 (2):307-314.
    I discuss three sets of worries concerning Watkins’ account of laws of nature in Kant on Laws. First, I argue contra Watkins that Kant’s laws of nature do not depend on acts of prescription in any literal sense. Second, I question how his generic conception of laws applies to empirical laws of nature and suggest that the worries about unknowability or contingency that he raises for contemporary alternatives may equally arise for empirical laws on Kant’s account. Finally, I discuss his (...)
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  18. Laws of Nature and the Divine Will in Berkeley’s Siris.David Bartha - 2020 - Ruch Filozoficzny 75 (4):31.
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  19. Unnatural Acts: The Transition From Natural Principles to Laws of Nature in Early Modern Science.Ori Belkind - 2020 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 81:62-73.
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  20. Welcome to the Fuzzy-Verse.Eddy Keming Chen - 2020 - New Scientist 247 (3298):36-40.
    We expect the laws of nature that describe the universe to be exact, but what if that isn't true? In this popular science article, I discuss the possibility that some candidate fundamental laws of nature, such as the Past Hypothesis, may be vague. This possibility is in conflict with the idea that the fundamental laws of nature can always and faithfully be described by classical mathematics. -/- [Bibliographic note: this article is featured on the magazine website under a different title (...)
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  21. Kant on Laws: By Eric Watkins, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2019, Pp. 310, £75.00 (Hb), ISBN 978-1-107-16391-1.Brigitte Falkenburg - 2020 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 29 (1):186-188.
    There are many books on Kant's accounts of the laws of nature and of the moral law, but there is almost no literature that covers both topics in order to clarify their common grounds and their diff...
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  22. Kant on Laws by Eric Watkins.Paul Guyer - 2020 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 58 (3):617-618.
    Kant on Laws is a collection of papers that Eric Watkins published from 1997 to 2018, "lightly rewritten," as he says, and accompanied with a new Introduction that states the general thesis that Kant has a univocal conception of law that applies to both laws of nature and the moral law. "Kant's most generic conception of law… includes two essential elements: necessity and the act of a spontaneous faculty whose legislative authority prescribes that necessity to a specific domain through an (...)
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  23. Powers, Dispositions and Laws of Nature.Max Kistler - 2020 - In Meincke (ed.), Dispositionalism: Perspectives from Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Science (Synthese Library). Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 171-188.
    Metaphysics should follow science in postulating laws alongside properties. I defend this claim against the claim that natural properties conceived as powers make laws of nature redundant. Natural properties can be construed in a “thin” or a “thick” way. If one attributes a property in the thin sense to an object, this attribution does not conceptually determine which other properties the object possesses. The thin construal is underlying the scientific strategy for understanding nature piecemeal. Science explains phenomena by cutting reality (...)
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  24. Divine Action, Determinism, and the Laws of Nature.Jeffrey Koperski - 2020 - London, UK: Routledge.
  25. 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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  26. A Lost Lesson in Keith Lehrer’s Reply to the Consequence Argument.Michael McKenna - 2020 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 97 (4):545-558.
    In this article, the author examines Keith Lehrer’s response to the Consequence Argument. He argues that his response has advantages over David Lewis’s. Contrary to what Lewis suggests in a footnote, Lehrer’s assessment of an ability to affect the laws of nature in deterministic settings is largely the same as Lewis’s. However, Lehrer’s position has an advantage that Lewis’s lacks. Lehrer integrates his proposal within a positive account of freedom, and this helps to explain how it could be that an (...)
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  27. Kant and the Laws of Nature. Ed. By Michela Massimi and Angela Breitenbach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. XII, 288 P. ISBN: 978-1-107-12098-3.Kant and the Laws of Nature. [REVIEW]Michael Pluder - 2020 - Kant-Studien 111 (2):326-329.
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  28. Hume's Natural Philosophy and Philosophy of Physical Science.Matias Kimi Slavov - 2020 - London: Bloomsbury Academic.
    This book contextualizes David Hume's philosophy of physical science, exploring both Hume's background in the history of early modern natural philosophy and its subsequent impact on the scientific tradition.
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  29. Laws of Nature: Metaphysics and Epistemology.Bruno Borge & Renato Cani - 2019 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 23 (3):367-372.
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  30. Laws of Nature: a philosophical approach / Leis da Natureza: uma abordagem filosófica.Rodrigo Reis Lastra Cid - 2019 - Macapá, Brazil: Editora da Universidade Federal do Amapá.
    This book deals with an internal theme of metaphysics, which is the metaphysics of the laws of nature. The author presents traditional contemporary theories, as well as his own original theory, and evaluates each one at a time. He also addresses the problem of the modality of the laws of nature and makes some criticism of the standard view of necessity as truth in all possible worlds, and shows an application of his discussion to the metaphysics of physics. / Este (...)
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  31. How (Not) to Argue Against Brute Fundamentalism.Julio De Rizzo - 2019 - Dialectica 73 (3):395-410.
    This paper is a response to McKenzie (2017). I argue that the case she presents is not a genuine counterexample to the thesis she labels Brute Fundamentalism. My response consists of two main points. First, that the support she presents for considering her case a metaphysical explanation is misguided. Second, that there are principled reasons for doubting that partial explanations in Hempel’s sense, of which her case is an instance, are genuinely explanatory in the first place. Thus McKenzie’s attack on (...)
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  32. Laws of Nature in Kant’s Critical Philosophy: Michela Massimi and Angela Breitenbach, Eds.: Kant and the Laws of Nature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017, $99.99 HB.Katherine Dunlop - 2019 - Metascience 28 (1):133-138.
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  33. How Physics Makes Us Free (Jenann Ismael). [REVIEW]Beñat Esnaola - 2019 - Gogoa 20.
    Fisikak duen munduaren ulerkera eta askatasuna (edo nork bere burua gobernatzeko gaitasuna) uztartu daitezkeela defendatu nahi du Ismaelek liburuan. Askatasuna ez dago modan, ordea. Fatalismoa da nagusi. Alde handia dago bizi dugun munduaren eta fisikak deskribatzen duenaren artean, eta ohikoa da “Bizi duguna fisikak ilusioa dela erakusten du” eta horrelakoak entzutea. Beste askori, askatasunaren defentsa metafisikoa lekuz kanpokoa irudituko zaio. Horiek, askatasuna orain eta hemen behar dela defendatuko dute. Ez duela inongo zentzurik askatasuna termino horietan pentsatzeak.
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  34. Descartes’ Physics in Le Monde and the Late-Scholastic Idea of Contingency.Rodolfo Garau - 2019 - In Rodolfo Garau & Pietro Omodeo (eds.), Contingency and Natural Order in Early Modern Science. Springer Verlag. pp. 199-217.
    After reconstructing some features of the Scholastic treatment of contingency in natural philosophy, this paper draws a comparison between Descartes’ treatments of the issue of the laws of nature in Le Monde and in the Principles of Philosophy. On the basis of this comparison, it argues that elements of the Scholastic understanding of contingency as due to the impediment provided by matter are still present in the former. While in the Principles Descartes appears to equate contingency with an epistemological limitation (...)
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  35. Metaphysics of Science.Julia Göhner & Markus Schrenk - 2019 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Metaphysics of Science is the philosophical study of key concepts that figure prominently in science and that, prima facie, stand in need of clarification. It is also concerned with the phenomena that correspond to these concepts. Exemplary topics within Metaphysics of Science include laws of nature, causation, dispositions, natural kinds, possibility and necessity, explanation, reduction, emergence, grounding, and space and time. -/- Metaphysics of Science is a subfield of both metaphysics and the philosophy of science—that is, it can be allocated (...)
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  36. The Physical as the Nomalous.J. Goldwater - 2019 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 26 (5-6):65-88.
    I argue physicalism should be characterized as the thesis that all behavior is law-governed. This characterization captures crucial desiderata for a formulation of physicalism, including its broad import and worldview defining features. It also has more local virtues, such as avoiding Hempel’s dilemma. A particularly important implication, I argue, is that this thesis makes the question of the mind’s physicality turn on what the mind can do- rather than what experience is like.
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  37. The Effectiveness of Mathematics in Physics of the Unknown.Alexei Grinbaum - 2019 - Synthese 196 (3):973-989.
    If physics is a science that unveils the fundamental laws of nature, then the appearance of mathematical concepts in its language can be surprising or even mysterious. This was Eugene Wigner’s argument in 1960. I show that another approach to physical theory accommodates mathematics in a perfectly reasonable way. To explore unknown processes or phenomena, one builds a theory from fundamental principles, employing them as constraints within a general mathematical framework. The rise of such theories of the unknown, which I (...)
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  38. Kant’s Regulative Metaphysics of God and the Systematic Lawfulness of Nature.Noam Hoffer - 2019 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 57 (2):217-239.
    In the ‘Appendix to the Transcendental Dialectic’ of the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant contends that the idea of God has a positive regulative role in the systematization of empirical knowledge. But why is this regulative role assigned to this specific idea? Kant’s account is rather opaque and this question has also not received much attention in the literature. In this paper I argue that an adequate understanding of the regulative role of the idea of God depends on the specific (...)
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  39. Freier Wille und Naturgesetze: Überlegungen zum Konsequenzargument.Andreas Hüttemann & Christian Loew - 2019 - In Martin Breul, Aaron Langenfeld, Saskia Wendel & Klaus von Stoch (eds.), Streit um die Freiheit – Philosophische und Theologische Perspektiven. Paderborn: Schöningh. pp. 77-93.
    In this paper, we argue that the Consequence Argument relies on empirical premises. In particular, we show how the argument depends upon assumptions about the character of the laws of nature.
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  40. The Rise of the Concept of Laws of Nature Revisited.Francis Oakley - 2019 - Early Science and Medicine 24 (1):1-32.
    Over the course of the past half-century and in the wake of the first articles published on the matter by Edgar Zilsel, Joseph Needham, and myself, historians of science have come to focus with growing insistence on the rise to prominence among the seventeenthw-century mechanical philosophers of the concept of laws of nature and on the significant role it played in the emergence of early-modern science. Revisiting the case I made on that matter in 1961, this paper goes on to (...)
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  41. Ars Experimentandi Et Conjectandi. Laws of Nature, Material Objects, and Contingent Circumstances.Enrico Pasini - 2019 - In Rodolfo Garau & Pietro Omodeo (eds.), Contingency and Natural Order in Early Modern Science. Springer Verlag. pp. 317-342.
    The scattered and pervasive variability of material objects, being a conspicuous part of the very experience of early-modern and modern science, challenges its purely theoretic character in many ways. Problems of this kind turn out in such different scientific contexts as Galilean physics, chemistry, and physiology. Practical answers are offered on the basis of different approaches, among which, in particular, two can be singled out. One is made out by what is often called an ‘art’ of experiments. From the Renaissance (...)
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  42. Do the Laws of Nature Entail Causal Closure? Response to Michael Esfeld.Daniel Von Wachter - 2019 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 26 (1):175-184.
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  43. God and Dispositional Essentialism: An Account of the Laws of Nature.Dani Adams - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (2):293-316.
    It is common to appeal to governing laws of nature in order to explain the existence of natural regularities. Classical theism, however, maintains the sovereignty thesis: everything distinct from God is created by him and is under his guidance and control. It follows from this that God must somehow be responsible for natural laws and regularities. Therefore, theists need an account of the relation between regularities, laws, and God. I examine competing accounts of laws of nature and conclude that dispositional (...)
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  44. El estatus epistémico de Los experimentos mentales en ciencias fácticas.Bruno Borge & Guadalupe Mettini - 2018 - Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy 59 (140):341-364.
    RESUMEN Un experimento mental en ciencias fácticas consiste en la representación de un escenario imaginario. A partir de la presentación de condiciones iniciales y la postulación de una situación hipotética o contrafáctica, se solicita al lector que realice mentalmente alguna operación, manipule ciertas variables o ponga en funcionamiento algún aparato o instrumento. En virtud de este ejercicio sería posible, en principio, obtener nuevo conocimiento acerca de algún aspecto del mundo natural. El debate acerca de las funciones de los experimentos mentales (...)
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  45. Empiricism and Certainty in Science: The Franco-Berlin School of Empiricism.André Charrak - 2018 - In Anne-Lise Rey & Siegfried Bodenmann (eds.), What Does It Mean to Be an Empiricist?: Empiricisms in Eighteenth Century Sciences. Springer Verlag. pp. 189-200.
    This paper examines the question of whether certainty can be achieved in sciences, according to the principles of empiricism and tries to identify the reasons why Hume was strangely benighted in the mid-eighteenth century by the Franco-Berlin school. The paper argues that Maupertuis’ reading of the Humean conception of causality in his Philosophical Examination of the Proof the Existence of God Employed in the Essay on Cosmology relies upon his criticism of Hume’s thesis on causality. It also suggests that there (...)
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  46. El Realismo de Leyes Naturales: ¿en qué consiste?Edgar Eduardo Rojas Durán - 2018 - Agora 37 (1):177-203.
    This paper aims to answer the question: what does the realism of laws of nature consist of? To achieve this, in the first part, three philosophical accounts of laws of nature are presented and examined: the universalist, the dispositionalist and the counter-factualist. The presentation and examination focuses on the answer given by each of these accounts to the question: what is a law of nature? Later, in the second part, convergences and divergences between these three accounts are shown. Finally, in (...)
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  47. A Theological Critique of the Fine-Tuning Argument.Hans Halvorson - 2018 - In Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne & Dani Rabinowitz (eds.), Knowledge, Belief, and God: New Insights in Religious Epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 122-135.
    According to the premises of the fine-tuning argument, most nomologically possible universes lack intelligent life; and the fact that ours has intelligent life is best explained by supposing it was created. However, if our universe was created, then the creator chose the laws of nature, and hence chose in favor of lifeless universes. In other words, the fine-tuning argument shows that God prefers universes without intelligent life; and the fact that our universe has intelligent life provides no new evidence for (...)
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  48. Fine-Tuning Fine-Tuning.John Hawthorne & Yoaav Isaacs - 2018 - In Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne & Dani Rabinowitz (eds.), Knowledge, Belief, and God: New Insights in Religious Epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 136-168.
  49. 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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  50. Common Ground for Laws and Metaphysical Modality.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2018 - Dissertation, King's College London
1 — 50 / 443