Armstrong on Probabilistic Laws of Nature

Philosophical Papers 46 (3):373-387 (2017)
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Abstract

D. M. Armstrong famously claims that deterministic laws of nature are contingent relations between universals and that his account can also be straightforwardly extended to irreducibly probabilistic laws of nature. For the most part, philosophers have neglected to scrutinize Armstrong’s account of probabilistic laws. This is surprising precisely because his own claims about probabilistic laws make it unclear just what he takes them to be. We offer three interpretations of what Armstrong-style probabilistic laws are, and argue that all three interpretations are incompatible either with some feature of Armstrong’s broader metaphysics or with essential features of his account of laws (or both).

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Author Profiles

Robert J. Hartman
Ohio Northern University
Jonathan D. Jacobs
Saint Louis University

Citations of this work

The Nomic Likelihood Account of Laws.Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2023 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9 (9):230-284.
Categorical Monism, Laws, and the Inference Problem.Vassilis Livanios - 2023 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 54 (4):599-619.

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References found in this work

What is a Law of Nature?D. M. Armstrong - 1983 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Sydney Shoemaker.
What is a Law of Nature?David Armstrong - 1983 - Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
Laws of nature.Fred I. Dretske - 1977 - Philosophy of Science 44 (2):248-268.
The nature of laws.Michael Tooley - 1977 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 7 (4):667-98.
A World of States of Affairs.John Heil & D. M. Armstrong - 1999 - Philosophical Review 108 (1):115.

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