Making best systems best for us

Synthese:1-26 (forthcoming)

Authors
Siegfried Jaag
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
Christian Loew
Umeå University
Abstract
Humean reductionism about laws of nature appears to leave a central aspect of scientific practice unmotivated: If the world’s fundamental structure is exhausted by the actual distribution of non-modal properties and the laws of nature are merely efficient summaries of this distribution, then why does science posit laws that cover a wide range of non-actual circumstances? In this paper, we develop a new version of the Humean best systems account of laws based on the idea that laws need to organize information in a way that maximizes their cognitive usefulness for creature like us. We argue that this account motivates scientific practice because the laws’ applicability to non-actual circumstances falls right out of their cognitive usefulness.
Keywords Laws of Nature  Humeanism  Best Systems
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-018-1829-1
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References found in this work BETA

Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
New Work for a Theory of Universals.David Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Humean Supervenience Debugged.David K. Lewis - 1994 - Mind 103 (412):473--490.
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The Metaphysics within Physics.Tim Maudlin - 2007 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 69 (3):610-611.

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