In Elaine Landry & Dean Rickles (eds.), Structural Realism: Structure, Object, and Causality. Springer (2012)
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)|
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Citations of this work BETA
Structural Realism.James Ladyman - 2014 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Structure of the World: Metaphysics and Representation.Steven French - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
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.
“Above the Slough of Despond”: Weylean Invariantism and Quantum Physics.Iulian D. Toader - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics:1-7.
The Applicability of Mathematics to Physical Modality.Nora Berenstain - 2016 - Synthese:1-17.
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