Ontic Structural Realism and Modality

In Elaine Landry & Dean Rickles (eds.), Structural Realism: Structure, Object, and Causality. Springer (2012)
Authors
James Ladyman
Bristol University
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
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Nature’s Metaphysics.Alexander Bird - 2007 - Oxford University Press.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The World in the Data.James Ladyman & Don Ross - 2013 - In Don Ross, James Ladyman & Harold Kincaid (eds.), Scientific Metaphysics. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 108-150.
What a Structuralist Theory of Properties Could Not Be.Nora Berenstain - 2016 - In Anna Marmodoro & David Yates (ed.), The Metaphysics of Relations. OUP. Oxford University Press.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Modal Nature of Structures in Ontic Structural Realism.Michael Esfeld - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (2):179 – 194.
Do Objects Depend on Structures?J. Wolff - 2012 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (3):607-625.
Points, Particles, and Structural Realism.Oliver Pooley - 2005 - In Dean Rickles, Steven French & Juha Saatsi (eds.), The Structural Foundations of Quantum Gravity. Oxford University Press. pp. 83--120.
The Structural Metaphysics of Quantum Theory and General Relativity.Vincent Lam & Michael Esfeld - 2012 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 43 (2):243-258.
Ontic Structural Realism and the Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.Michael Esfeld - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (1):19-32.
Recent Debates Over Structural Realism.Daniel McArthur - 2006 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 37 (2):209 - 224.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-10-01

Total downloads
272 ( #15,751 of 2,266,882 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
73 ( #4,575 of 2,266,882 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature