In Elaine Landry & Dean Rickles (eds.), Structural Realism: Structure, Object, and Causality. Springer (2012)

Authors
James Ladyman
University of Bristol
Nora Berenstain
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Abstract
There is good reason to believe that scientific realism requires a commitment to the objective modal structure of the physical world. Causality, equilibrium, laws of nature, and probability all feature prominently in scientific theory and explanation, and each one is a modal notion. If we are committed to the content of our best scientific theories, we must accept the modal nature of the physical world. But what does the scientific realist’s commitment to physical modality require? We consider whether scientific realism is compatible with Humeanism about the laws of nature, and we conclude that it is not. We specifically identify three major problems for the best-systems account of lawhood: its central concept of strength cannot be formulated non-circularly, it cannot offer a satisfactory account of the laws of the special sciences, and it can offer no explanation of the success of inductive inference. In addition, Humeanism fails to be naturalistically motivated. For these reasons, we conclude that the scientific realist must embrace natural necessity.
Keywords laws of nature  scientific realism  structural realism  modality  natural necessity  induction  probability  Humeanism  special sciences
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References found in this work BETA

Nature’s Metaphysics.Alexander Bird - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
The Metaphysics Within Physics.Tim Maudlin - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Humean Supervenience Debugged.David Lewis - 1994 - Mind 103 (412):473--490.

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Citations of this work BETA

Structural Realism.James Ladyman - 2014 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University.
The World in the Data.James A. C. Ladyman & Don A. Ross - 2013 - In Don Ross, James Ladyman & Harold Kincaid (eds.), Scientific Metaphysics. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 108-150.
Symmetry fundamentalism in quantum mechanics.David Schroeren - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):3995-4024.

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