The Non-Governing Conception of Laws of Nature


Authors
Helen Beebee
University of Manchester
Abstract
Recently several thought experiments have been developed which have been alleged to refute the Ramsey-Lewis view of laws of nature. The paper aims to show that two such thought experiments fail to establish that the Ramsey-Lewis view is false, since they presuppose a conception of laws of nature that is radically at odds with the Humean conception of laws embodied by the Ramsey-Lewis view. In particular, the thought experiments presuppose that laws of nature govern the behavior of objects. The paper argues that the claim that laws govern should not be regarded as a conceptual truth, and shows how the governing conception of laws manifests itself in the thought experiments. Hence the thought experiments do not constitute genuine counter-examples to the Ramsey-Lewis view, since the Humean is free to reject the conception of laws which the thought experiments presuppose.
Keywords laws governing
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DOI 10.2307/2653613
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References found in this work BETA

What is a Law of Nature?D. M. Armstrong - 1983 - Cambridge University Press.
Counterfactuals. [REVIEW]William Parry - 1973 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 44 (2):278-281.
What is a Law of Nature.D. M. Armstrong - 1983 - Mind 94 (373):164-166.
Laws and Symmetry.Bas van Fraassen - 1989 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 182 (3):327-329.

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Citations of this work BETA

Quantum Humeanism, Or: Physicalism Without Properties.Michael Esfeld - 2014 - Philosophical Quarterly 64 (256):453-470.
Contingentism in Metaphysics.Kristie Miller - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (11):965-977.
Scientific Practice and the Epistemology of Governing Laws.Tyler Hildebrand - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (2):174-188.
What is the Significance of the Intuition That Laws of Nature Govern?Susan Schneider - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):307-324.

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