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Jonathan Cohen & Craig Callender (2009). A Better Best System Account of Lawhood.

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  1.  57
    Humean Laws, Explanatory Circularity, and the Aim of Scientific Explanation.Chris Dorst - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-23.
    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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  2.  65
    Making Best Systems Best for Us.Siegfried Jaag & Christian Loew - forthcoming - 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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  3.  15
    The Limits of Humeanism.Jesse M. 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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  4.  25
    Challenging Lewis’s Challenge to the Best System Account of Lawhood.Rafal Urbaniak & Bert Leuridan - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1649-1666.
    David Lewis has formulated a well-known challenge to his Best System account of lawhood: the content of any system whatever can be formulated very simply if one allows for perverse choices of primitive vocabulary. We show that the challenge is not that dangerous, and that to account for it one need not invoke natural properties or relativized versions of the Best System account. This way, we help to move towards an even better Best System account. We discuss extensions of our (...)
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  5.  26
    Mathematical Explanation by Law.Sam Baron - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx062.
    Call an explanation in which a non-mathematical fact is explained—in part or in whole—by mathematical facts: an extra-mathematical explanation. Such explanations have attracted a great deal of interest recently in arguments over mathematical realism. In this paper, a theory of extra-mathematical explanation is developed. The theory is modelled on a deductive-nomological theory of scientific explanation. A basic DN account of extra-mathematical explanation is proposed and then redeveloped in the light of two difficulties that the basic theory faces. The final view (...)
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  6.  38
    Toward a Best Predictive System Account of Laws of Nature.Chris Dorst - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axy016.
    This paper 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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  7.  47
    Laws of Nature, Explanation, and Semantic Circularity.Shumener Erica - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx020.
    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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  8.  53
    The Physics and Metaphysics of Primitive Stuff.Michael Esfeld, Dustin Lazarovici, Vincent Lam & Mario Hubert - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (1):133-61.
    The article sets out a primitive ontology of the natural world in terms of primitive stuff—that is, stuff that has as such no physical properties at all—but that is not a bare substratum either, being individuated by metrical relations. We focus on quantum physics and employ identity-based Bohmian mechanics to illustrate this view, but point out that it applies all over physics. Properties then enter into the picture exclusively through the role that they play for the dynamics of the primitive (...)
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  9.  23
    Philosophy of Science Between the Natural Sciences, the Social Sciences, and the Humanities: Introduction.Christian J. Feldbacher-Escamilla, Alexander Gebharter & Gerhard Schurz - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (3):317-326.
    This introduction provides a detailed summary of all papers of the special issue on the second conference of the German Society for Philosophy of Science: GWP.2016.
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  10.  34
    Dynamic Humeanism.Michael Townsen Hicks - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx006.
    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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  11. Derivative Properties in Fundamental Laws.Michael Townsen Hicks & Jonathan Schaffer - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (2).
    Orthodoxy has it that only metaphysically elite properties can be invoked in scientifically elite laws. We argue that this claim does not fit scientific practice. An examination of candidate scientifically elite laws like Newton’s F = ma reveals properties invoked that are irreversibly defined and thus metaphysically non-elite by the lights of the surrounding theory: Newtonian acceleration is irreversibly defined as the second derivative of position, and Newtonian resultant force is irreversibly defined as the sum of the component forces. We (...)
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  12.  15
    The Emergence of Better Best System Laws.Markus Schrenk - 2017 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 48 (3):469-483.
    The better best system account, short BBSA, is a variation on Lewis’s theory of laws. The difference to the latter is that the BBSA suggests that best system analyses can be executed for any fixed set of properties. This affords the possibility to launch system analyses separately for the set of biological properties yielding the set of biological laws, chemical properties yielding chemical laws, and so on for the other special sciences. As such, the BBSA remains silent about possible interrelations (...)
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  13.  37
    Ceteris Paribus Laws and Minutis Rectis Laws.Luke Fenton-Glynn - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (2):274-305.
    Special science generalizations admit of exceptions. Among the class of non-exceptionless special science generalizations, I distinguish minutis rectis generalizations from the more familiar category of ceteris paribus generalizations. I argue that the challenges involved in showing that mr generalizations can play the law role are underappreciated, and quite different from those involved in showing that cp generalizations can do so. I outline a strategy for meeting the challenges posed by mr generalizations.
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  14.  89
    Does the Counterfactual Theory of Explanation Apply to Non-Causal Explanations in Metaphysics?Alexander Reutlinger - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science:1-18.
    In the recent philosophy of explanation, a growing attention to and discussion of non-causal explanations has emerged, as there seem to be compelling examples of non-causal explanations in the sciences, in pure mathematics, and in metaphysics. I defend the claim that the counterfactual theory of explanation (CTE) captures the explanatory character of both non-causal scientific and metaphysical explanations. According to the CTE, scientific and metaphysical explanations are explanatory by virtue of revealing counterfactual dependencies between the explanandum and the explanans. I (...)
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  15.  36
    It is the Business of Laws to Govern.Jonathan Schaffer - 2016 - Dialectica 70 (4):577-588.
    Non-Humean accounts of lawhood are said to founder on the Inference Problem, which is the problem of saying how laws that go beyond the regularities can entail the regularities. I argue that the Inference Problem has a simple solution – the Axiomatic Solution – on which the non-Humean only needs to outfit her laws with a law-to-regularity axiom. There is a remaining Epistemic Bulge, as to why one should believe that the posit-so-axiomatized is to be found in nature, but the (...)
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  16.  64
    Naturalness in Context.Elanor Taylor - 2016 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (4):1-24.
    According to proponents of one influential account of metaphysical naturalness, properties fall along a spectrum from perfectly natural to highly non-natural. The perfectly natural end of the spectrum is occupied by properties that appear in the laws of nature, account for resemblance and causal powers, and ground other properties, whereas the highly non-natural properties at the spectrum’s other end are not like this at all. However, there is another phenomenon that looks very much like metaphysical naturalness but is context-dependent. I (...)
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  17.  5
    Sobre la Crítica de Mumford Al Realismo Nomológico.Bruno Borge - 2015 - Manuscrito 38 (3):59-80.
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  18.  73
    One World, One Beable.Craig Callender - 2015 - Synthese 192 (10):3153-3177.
    Is the quantum state part of the furniture of the world? Einstein found such a position indigestible, but here I present a different understanding of the wavefunction that is easy to stomach. First, I develop the idea that the wavefunction is nomological in nature, showing how the quantum It or Bit debate gets subsumed by the corresponding It or Bit debate about laws of nature. Second, I motivate the nomological view by casting quantum mechanics in a “classical” formalism (Hamilton–Jacobi theory) (...)
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  19.  81
    Fundamental Properties and the Laws of Nature.Heather Demarest - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (5):334-344.
    Fundamental properties and the laws of nature go hand in hand: mass and gravitation, charge and electromagnetism, spin and quantum mechanics. So, it is unsurprising that one's account of fundamental properties affects one's view of the laws of nature and vice versa. In this essay, I will survey a variety of recent attempts to provide a joint account of the fundamental properties and the laws of nature. Many of these accounts are new and unexplored. Some of them posit surprising entities, (...)
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  20.  38
    Toward a Propensity Interpretation of Stochastic Mechanism for the Life Sciences.Lane DesAutels - 2015 - Synthese 192 (9):2921-2953.
    In what follows, I suggest that it makes good sense to think of the truth of the probabilistic generalizations made in the life sciences as metaphysically grounded in stochastic mechanisms in the world. To further understand these stochastic mechanisms, I take the general characterization of mechanism offered by MDC :1–25, 2000) and explore how it fits with several of the going philosophical accounts of chance: subjectivism, frequentism, Lewisian best-systems, and propensity. I argue that neither subjectivism, frequentism, nor a best-system-style interpretation (...)
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  21. The Best Humean System for Statistical Mechanics.Roman Frigg & Carl Hoefer - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (S3):551-574.
    Classical statistical mechanics posits probabilities for various events to occur, and these probabilities seem to be objective chances. This does not seem to sit well with the fact that the theory’s time evolution is deterministic. We argue that the tension between the two is only apparent. We present a theory of Humean objective chance and show that chances thus understood are compatible with underlying determinism and provide an interpretation of the probabilities we find in Boltzmannian statistical mechanics.
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  22. Better Best Systems – Too Good To Be True.Marius Backmann & Alexander Reutlinger - 2014 - Dialectica 68 (3):375-390.
    Craig Callender, Jonathan Cohen and Markus Schrenk have recently argued for an amended version of the best system account of laws – the better best system account (BBSA). This account of lawhood is supposed to account for laws in the special sciences, among other desiderata. Unlike David Lewis's original best system account of laws, the BBSA does not rely on a privileged class of natural predicates, in terms of which the best system is formulated. According to the BBSA, a contingently (...)
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  23. Explanations: Aesthetic and Scientific.Shen-yi Liao - 2014 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 75:127-149.
    Methodologically, philosophical aesthetics is undergoing an evolution that takes it closer to the sciences. Taking this methodological convergence as the starting point, I argue for a pragmatist and pluralist view of aesthetic explanations. To bring concreteness to discussion, I focus on vindicating genre explanations, which are explanations of aesthetic phenomena that centrally cite a work's genre classification. I show that theoretical resources that philosophers of science have developed with attention to actual scientific practice and the special sciences can be used (...)
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  24.  89
    Do Statistical Laws Solve the 'Problem of Provisos'?Alexander Reutlinger - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S10):1759-1773.
    In their influential paper “Ceteris Paribus, There is No Problem of Provisos”, Earman and Roberts (Synthese 118:439–478, 1999) propose to interpret the non-strict generalizations of the special sciences as statistical generalizations about correlations. I call this view the “statistical account”. Earman and Roberts claim that statistical generalizations are not qualified by “non-lazy” ceteris paribus conditions. The statistical account is an attractive view, since it looks exactly like what everybody wants: it is a simple and intelligible theory of special science laws (...)
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  25.  47
    Thinking About Non-Universal Laws.Alexander Reutlinger & Matthias Unterhuber - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S10):1703-1713.
    What are ceteris paribus laws? Which disciplines appeal to cp laws and which semantics, metaphysical underpinning, and epistemological dimensions do cp law statements have? Firstly, we give a short overview of the recent discussion on cp laws, which addresses these questions. Secondly, we suggest that given the rich and diverse literature on cp laws a broad conception of cp laws should be endorsed which takes into account the different ways in which laws can be non-universal . Finally, we provide an (...)
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  26. Better Best Systems and the Issue of CP-Laws.Markus Schrenk - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S10):1787-1799.
    This paper combines two ideas: (1) That the Lewisian best system analysis of lawhood (BSA) can cope with laws that have exceptions (cf. Braddon-Mitchell in Noûs 35(2):260–277, 2001; Schrenk in The metaphysics of ceteris paribus laws. Ontos, Frankfurt, 2007). (2) That a BSA can be executed not only on the mosaic of perfectly natural properties but also on any set of special science properties (cf., inter alia, Schrenk 2007, Selected papers contributed to the sections of GAP.6, 6th international congress of (...)
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  27.  65
    Do Ceteris Paribus Laws Exist? A Regularity-Based Best System Analysis.Matthias Unterhuber - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S10):1833-1847.
    This paper argues that ceteris paribus (cp) laws exist based on a Lewisian best system analysis of lawhood (BSA). Furthermore, it shows that a BSA faces a second trivialization problem besides the one identified by Lewis. The first point concerns an argument against cp laws by Earman and Roberts. The second point aims to help making some assumptions of the BSA explicit. To address the second trivialization problem, a restriction in terms of natural logical constants is proposed that allows one (...)
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  28.  53
    How Can Causal Explanations Explain?Jon Williamson - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):257-275.
    The mechanistic and causal accounts of explanation are often conflated to yield a ‘causal-mechanical’ account. This paper prizes them apart and asks: if the mechanistic account is correct, how can causal explanations be explanatory? The answer to this question varies according to how causality itself is understood. It is argued that difference-making, mechanistic, dualist and inferentialist accounts of causality all struggle to yield explanatory causal explanations, but that an epistemic account of causality is more promising in this regard.
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  29.  32
    Against Regular and Irregular Characterizations of Mechanisms.Lane DesAutels - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):914-925.
    This article addresses the question of whether we should conceive of mechanisms as productive of change in a regular way. I argue that, if mechanisms are characterized as fully regular, on the one hand, then not enough processes will count as mechanisms for them to be interesting or useful. If no appeal to regularity is made at all in their characterization, on the other hand, then mechanisms can no longer be useful for grounding prediction and supporting intervention strategies. I conclude (...)
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  30. From Arbuthnot to Boltzmann: The Past Hypothesis, the Best System, and the Special Sciences.Mathias Frisch - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (5):1001-1011.
    In recent work on the foundations of statistical mechanics and the arrow of time, Barry Loewer and David Albert have developed a view that defends both a best system account of laws and a physicalist fundamentalism. I argue that there is a tension between their account of laws, which emphasizes the pragmatic element in assessing the relative strength of different deductive systems, and their reductivism or funda- mentalism. If we take the pragmatic dimension in their account seriously, then the laws (...)
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  31. Special Sciences, Conspiracy and the Better Best System Account of Lawhood.Jonathan Cohen & Craig Callender - 2010 - Erkenntnis 73 (3):427 - 447.
    An important obstacle to lawhood in the special sciences is the worry that such laws would require metaphysically extravagant conspiracies among fundamental particles. How, short of conspiracy, is this possible? In this paper we'll review a number of strategies that allow for the projectibility of special science generalizations without positing outlandish conspiracies: non-Humean pluralism, classical MRL theories of laws, and Albert and Loewer's theory. After arguing that none of the above fully succeed, we consider the conspiracy problem through the lens (...)
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  32. Contemporary Approaches to Statistical Mechanical Probabilities: A Critical Commentary - Part II: The Regularity Approach.Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (12):1127-1136.
    This pair of articles provides a critical commentary on contemporary approaches to statistical mechanical probabilities. These articles focus on the two ways of understanding these probabilities that have received the most attention in the recent literature: the epistemic indifference approach, and the Lewis-style regularity approach. These articles describe these approaches, highlight the main points of contention, and make some attempts to advance the discussion. The second of these articles discusses the regularity approach to statistical mechanical probabilities, and describes some areas (...)
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