Springer (2022)

Yemima Ben-Menahem
Shalem College
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 context in which the formulation of laws became central to science. The traditional concept is also challenged in various ways by contemporary scientific theories such as quantum mechanics, chaos theory and the general theory of relativity. It is no longer clear that there are any universal laws, laws do not always guarantee predictability, and the border between physical and mathematical considerations is constantly shifting. The most difficult challenge, perhaps, is to come up with a scientific explanation of the origin of laws. Wrestling with these intriguing problems, the papers in this volume broaden both our understanding of the natural order and our desiderata of scientific explanation.
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