Laws of Nature, Misc

Edited by Markus Schrenk (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
Assistant editor: Florian J. Boge (Bergische Universität Wuppertal)
About this topic
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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482 found
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1 — 50 / 482
  1. Strong Determinism.Eddy Keming Chen - manuscript
    A strongly deterministic theory of physics is one that permits exactly one possible history of the universe. In the words of Penrose (1989), "it is not just a matter of the future being determined by the past; the entire history of the universe is fixed, according to some precise mathematical scheme, for all time.” Such an extraordinary feature may appear unattainable in any realistic and simple theory of physics. In this paper, I propose a definition of strong determinism and contrast (...)
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  2. A Counterexample to Huemer's ’No Matter What’ Interpretation of the Consequence Argument. Mansooreh - manuscript
    The consequence argument is a salient argument in favor of incompatibilism which is the thesis that if determinism is true, then it is not the case that we have free will. In a nutshell, the consequence argument has it that if determinism is true, then our acts are determined by the laws of nature and events of the past. But we are neither able to change the past nor the laws of nature. Therefore, we are not able to change the (...)
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  3. 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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  4. Freedom to Do Otherwise and the Contingency of the Laws of Nature.Jeff Mitchell - manuscript
    This article argues that the freedom of voluntary action can be grounded in the contingency of the laws of nature. That is, the possibility of doing otherwise is equivalent to the possibility of the laws being otherwise. This equivalence can be understood in terms of an agent drawing a boundary between self and not-self in the domains of both matter and laws, defining the extent of the body and of voluntary behaviour. In particular, the article proposes that we can think (...)
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  5. 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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  6. A Current Perspective on Science, Scientists and "Scientific Temper": Busting Myths and Misconceptions.Bimal Prasad Mahapatra -
    This article is devoted to define and characterize ‘Science’ as a discipline by the fundamental principles of scientific investigation. In particular, we propose and argue that ‘Science’ be defined by a set of principles / criteria which underlies scientific- investigation. We argue that this set must include the following principles: (1) Rationality, (2) Objectivity (3) Universality, (4) Internal Consistency, (5) Uniqueness, (6) Reproducibility, (7) The Principle of Falsification, (8) Simplicity and Elegance and (9) Experimental Observation and Verification. We elaborate, through (...)
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  7. Rethinking Laws of Nature.Yemima Ben-Menahem (ed.) - forthcoming - Springer.
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  8. 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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  9. Lawful Persistence.David Builes & Trevor Teitel - forthcoming - Philosophical Perspectives.
    The central aim of this paper is to use a particular view about how the laws of nature govern the evolution of our universe in order to develop and evaluate the two main competing options in the metaphysics of persistence, namely endurantism and perdurantism. We begin by motivating the view that our laws of nature dictate not only qualitative facts about the future, but also which objects will instantiate which qualitative properties. We then show that both traditional doctrines in the (...)
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  10. The Nomic Likelihood Account of Laws.Meacham Christopher - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    An adequate account of laws should satisfy at least five desiderata: it should provide a unified account of laws and chances, it should yield plausible relations between laws and chances, it should vindicate numerical chance assignments, it should accommodate dynamical and non-dynamical chances, and it should accommodate a plausible range of nomic possibilities. No extant account of laws satisfies these desiderata. This paper presents a non-Humean account of laws, the Nomic Likelihood Account, that does.
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  11. The Primitivist Response to the Inference Problem.Ashley Coates - forthcoming - Dialectica.
    While the inference problem is widely thought to be one of the most serious problems facing non-Humean accounts of laws, Jonathan Schaffer has argued that a primitivist response straightforwardly dissolves the problem. On this basis, he claims that the inference problem is really a pseudo-problem. Here I clarify the prospects of a primitivist response to the inference problem and their implications for the philosophical significance of the problem. I argue both that it is a substantial question whether this sort of (...)
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  12. Principles, Laws and Theories: The Fabric of Science.C. Dilworth - forthcoming - Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science.
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  13. 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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  14. Humean Laws for Human Agents.Christian Loew, Siegfried Jaag & Michael Townsen Hicks (eds.) - forthcoming - Oxford UP.
  15. 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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  16. Why Confirm Laws?Barry Ward - forthcoming - The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    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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  17. Fundamentality and Levels in Everettian Quantum Mechanics.Alastair Wilson - forthcoming - In Valia Allori (ed.), Quantum Mechanics and Fundamentality. Springer.
    Distinctions in fundamentality between different levels of description are central to the viability of contemporary decoherence-based Everettian quantum mechanics (EQM). This approach to quantum theory characteristically combines a determinate fundamental reality (one universal wave function) with an indeterminate emergent reality (multiple decoherent worlds). In this chapter I explore how the Everettian appeal to fundamentality and emergence can be understood within existing metaphysical frameworks, identify grounding and concept fundamentality as promising theoretical tools, and use them to characterize a system of explanatory (...)
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  18. Laws of Nature as Constraints.Emily Adlam - 2022 - Foundations of Physics 52 (1):1-41.
    The laws of nature have come a long way since the time of Newton: quantum mechanics and relativity have given us good reasons to take seriously the possibility of laws which may be non-local, atemporal, ‘all-at-once,’ retrocausal, or in some other way not well-suited to the standard dynamical time evolution paradigm. Laws of this kind can be accommodated within a Humean approach to lawhood, but many extant non-Humean approaches face significant challenges when we try to apply them to laws outside (...)
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  19. Rethinking the Concept of Law of Nature: Natural Order in the Light of Contemporary Science.Yemima Ben-Menahem (ed.) - 2022 - Springer.
    This book subjects the traditional concept of law of nature to critical examination. There are two kinds of reasons that invite this reexamination, one deriving from philosophical concerns over the traditional concept, the other motivated by theoretical and practical changes in science. One of the philosophical worries is that the idiom of law of nature, especially when combined with the notion of laws 'governing' individual events and processes, is no longer as intelligible as it used to be in the theistic (...)
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  20. Fundamental Nomic Vagueness.Eddy Keming Chen - 2022 - Philosophical Review 131 (1):1-49.
    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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  21. Why do the Laws Support Counterfactuals?Chris Dorst - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (2):545-566.
    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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  22. The Nomological Argument for the Existence of God.Tyler Hildebrand & Thomas Metcalf - 2022 - Noûs 56 (2):443-472.
    According to the Nomological Argument, observed regularities in nature are best explained by an appeal to a supernatural being. A successful explanation must avoid two perils. Some explanations provide too little structure, predicting a universe without regularities. Others provide too much structure, thereby precluding an explanation of certain types of lawlike regularities featured in modern scientific theories. We argue that an explanation based in the creative, intentional action of a supernatural being avoids these two perils whereas leading competitors do not. (...)
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  23. The Metaphysics of Laws of Nature: The Rules of the Game.Walter Ott - 2022 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    It can seem obvious that we live in a world governed by laws of nature, yet it was not until the seventeenth century that the concept of a law came to the fore. Ever since, it has been attended by controversy: what does it mean to say that Boyle's law governs the expansion of a gas, or that the planets obey the law of gravity? Laws are rules that permit calculations and predictions. What does the universe have to be like, (...)
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  24. From Metaphysical Principles to Dynamical Laws.Marius Stan - 2022 - In David Marshall Miller & Dana Jalobeanu (eds.), The Cambridge History of Philosophy of the Scientific Revolution. New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press. pp. 387-405.
    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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  25. A Basic Theory of Everything: A Fundamental Theoretical Framework for Science and Philosophy.Atle Ottesen Søvik - 2022 - De Gruyter.
    What are the basic building blocks of the world? This book presents a naturalistic theory saying that the universe and everything in it can be reduced to three fundamental entities: a field, a set of values that can be actualized at different places in the field, and an actualizer of the values. The theory is defended by using it to answer the main questions in metaphysics, such as: What is causality, existence, laws of nature, consciousness, thinking, free will, time, mathematical (...)
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  26. Natural Kinds, Mind-Independence, and Unification Principles.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-23.
    There have been many attempts to determine what makes a natural kind real, chief among them is the criterion according to which natural kinds must be mind-independent. But it is difficult to specify this criterion: many supposed natural kinds have an element of mind-dependence. I will argue that the mind-independence criterion is nevertheless a good one, if correctly understood: the mind-independence criterion concerns the unification principles for natural kinds. Unification principles determine how natural kinds unify their properties, and only those (...)
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  27. 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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  28. Leibniz and Kant on Empirical Miracles: Rationalism, Freedom, and the Laws.Andrew Chignell - 2021 - In Brandon Look (ed.), Leibniz and Kant. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 320-354.
    Leibniz and Kant were heirs of a biblical theistic tradition which viewed miraculous activity in the world as both possible and actual. But both were also deep explanatory rationalists about the natural world: more committed than your average philosophical theologian to its thoroughgoing intelligibility. These dual sympathies—supernaturalist religion and empirical rationalism—generate a powerful tension across both philosophers’ systems, one that is most palpable in their accounts of empirical miracles—that is, events in nature that violate one or more of the natural (...)
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  29. What’s so Special About Initial Conditions? Understanding the Past Hypothesis in Directionless Time.Matt Farr - 2021 - In Yemima Ben-Menahem (ed.), Rethinking the Concept of Laws of Nature: Natural order in the Light of Contemporary Science. Springer.
    It is often said that the world is explained by laws of nature together with initial conditions. But does that mean initial conditions don’t require further explanation? And does the explanatory role played by initial conditions entail or require that time has a preferred direction? This chapter looks at the use of the ‘initialness defence’ in physics, the idea that initial conditions are intrinsically special in that they don’t require further explanation, unlike the state of the world at other times. (...)
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  30. 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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  31. Empiricism and Philosophy of Physics.Lars-Göran Johansson - 2021 - Cham: Springer Verlag.
    This book presents a thoroughly empiricist account of physics. By providing an overview of the development of empiricism from Ockham to van Fraassen the book lays the foundation for its own version of empiricism. Empiricism for the author consists of three ideas: nominalism, i.e. dismissing second order quantification as unnecessary, epistemological naturalism, and viewing classification of things in natural kinds as a human habit not in need for any justification. The book offers views on the realism-antirealism debate as well as (...)
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  32. What Freedom in a Deterministic World Must Be.Brian Looper - 2021 - Mind 130 (519):863-885.
    Contrary to Lewis and Vihvelin, I argue that free will in a deterministic world is an ability to break a law of nature or to change the remote past. Even if it were true, as Lewis and Vihvelin think, that an agent who is predetermined to perform a particular act might not break a law or change the remote past by doing otherwise, it would nevertheless be true that he is able to do otherwise only if he is able to (...)
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  33. Jeffrey Koperski, Divine Action, Determinism, and Laws of Nature. [REVIEW]Daniel Rubio - 2021 - Faith and Philosophy 38 (1):145-149.
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  34. Kant’s Reply to the Consequence Argument.Matthé Scholten - 2021 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 29 (2):135-158.
    In this paper, I show that Kant’s solution to the third antinomy is a reply sui generis to the consequence argument. If sound, the consequence argument yields that we are not morally responsible for our actions because our actions are not up to us. After expounding the modal version of the consequence argument advanced by Peter van Inwagen, I show that Kant accepts a key inference rule of the argument as well as a requirement of alternate possibilities for moral blame. (...)
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  35. 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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  36. Evidence and Explanation in Kant's Doctrine of Laws.Marius Stan - 2021 - Studi Kantiani 34:141-49.
    I emphasize two merits of Eric Watkins’ account in "Kant on Laws": the strong evidential support it has, and the central place it gives to Kant’s laws of mechanics. Then, I raise two questions for further research. 1. What kind of evidential reasoning confirms a Kantian law? 2. Do natures explain Kantian laws? If so, how?
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  37. Laws of Nature and the Divine Will in Berkeley’s Siris.David Bartha - 2020 - Ruch Filozoficzny 75 (4):31.
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  38. 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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  39. 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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  40. 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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  41. 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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  42. Invariances in Transformational Emergence.Paul Humphreys - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2745-2756.
    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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  43. Naturgesetze.Siegfried Jaag & Markus Schrenk - 2020 - Berlin: De Gruyter.
    The notion of a law of nature is a central component of our scientific and philosophical conception of reality. The lawful character of our world makes natural phenomena predictable, understandable and manipulable in specific ways. This book provides a systematic overview of the most important philosophical conceptions of laws and concludes with a presentation of a novel version of the best systems theory.
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  44. 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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  45. Divine Action, Determinism, and the Laws of Nature.Jeffrey Koperski - 2020 - London, UK: Routledge.
    A longstanding question at the intersection of science, philosophy, and theology is how God might act, or not, when governing the universe. Many believe that determinism would prevent God from acting at all, since to do so would require violating the laws of nature. However, when a robust view of these laws is coupled with the kind of determinism now used in dynamics, a new model of divine action emerges. This book presents a new approach to divine action beyond the (...)
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  46. 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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  47. 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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  48. The Tools of Metaphysics and the Metaphysics of Science.Theodore Sider - 2020 - Oxford, England and New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
    Metaphysics is sensitive to the conceptual tools we choose to articulate metaphysical problems. Those tools are a lens through which we view metaphysical problems; the same problems look different when we change the lens. There has recently been a shift to "postmodal" conceptual tools: concepts of ground, essence, and fundamentality. This shift transforms the debate over structuralism in the metaphysics of science and philosophy of mathematics. Structuralist theses say that patterns are "prior" to the nodes in the patterns. In modal (...)
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  49. Hume's Natural Philosophy and Philosophy of Physical Science.Matias 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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  50. 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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1 — 50 / 482