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What is a Law of Nature?

Cambridge University Press (1985)

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  1. Meso-Level Objects, Powers, and Simultaneous Causation.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2017 - Metaphysica 18 (1).
    I argue that Mumford and Anjum’s recent theory of simultaneous causation among powerful meso-level objects is problematic in several respects: it is based on a false dichotomy, it is incompatible with standard meso-level physics, it is explanatory deficient, and it threatens to render the powers metaphysics incoherent. Powers theorists are advised, therefore, to adopt a purely sequential conception of causation.
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  • The Metaphysical Necessity of Natural Laws.Quentin Smith - 1996 - Proceedings of the Heraclitean Society 18:104-23.
    I begin by defending condition (i) against five objections (section 2). Following this, I show that the theory that laws obtain contingently encounters three problems that are solved by the theory that laws are metaphysically necessary (section 3). In section 3, I criticize the regularity theory of natural laws and the universals theory of Armstrong, Dretske and Tooley, and also show how the metaphysical theory solves the “inference problem” that Van Fraassen (1989) posed for any theory of natural laws.
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  • The Ultimate Argument Against Armstrong's Contingent Necessitation View of Laws.Alexander Bird - 2005 - Analysis 65 (2):147-55.
    I show that Armstrong’s view of laws as second-order contingent relations of ‘necessitation’ among categorical properties faces a dilemma. The necessitation relation confers a relation of extensional inclusion (‘constant conjunction’) on its relata. It does so either necessarily or contingently. If necessarily, it is not a categorical relation (in the relevant sense). If contingently, then an explanation is required of how it confers extensional inclusion. That explanation will need to appeal to a third-order relation between necessitation and extensional inclusion. The (...)
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  • Some Remarks on the Metaphysical Status of Laws of Nature.W. Christiaens - 2008 - Acta Philosophica Fennica 84:99.
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  • A Regularity Theoretic Approach to Actual Causation.Michael Baumgartner - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (1):85-109.
    The majority of the currently flourishing theories of actual causation are located in a broadly counterfactual framework that draws on structural equations. In order to account for cases of symmetric overdeterminiation and preemption, these theories resort to rather intricate analytical tools, most of all, to what Hitchcock has labeled explicitly nonforetracking counterfactuals. This paper introduces a regularity theoretic approach to actual causation that only employs material conditionals, standard Boolean minimization procedures, and a stability condition that regulates the behavior of causal (...)
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