Springer Verlag (2019)

Arnold Koslow
CUNY Graduate Center
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ISBN(s) 978-3-030-18846-7   978-3-030-18845-0   3030188450   3030188485
DOI 10.1007/978-3-030-18846-7
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Chapters BETA
David Hilbert’s Architecture of Theories and Schematic Structuralism

It might be folly to insist on one overall official characterization of the way scientific and mathematical theories ought to be presented. They are usually presented of course in various ways so that the authors and scholars in a field can find optimal means for communication with others, whether w... see more

The Explanation of Laws: Two Neglected and Radically Different Theories. One Inspired by D. Hilbert; the Other Inspired by F. Ramsey

Norman Campbell rightly set the task. It is the business of science not only to discover laws, but to explain them. And he added his voice to a philosophical tradition going back to Aristotle, of taking on the task of explaining what laws are, and explaining as well what explanations of laws are. Ev... see more

Schematic Theories, Subsumtion of Laws, and Non-accidental Generalizations

There is a raft of issues that have to be taken into account when the background theory for a law is schematic.

The Possibilities That Theories Provide and the Possibilities of Laws

In the previous chapter we agued that every theory provides a collection of physical possibilities, − they are the elements of its associated magnitude vector space. The elements of that space are the modal physical possibilities provided by the theory. We will now explain why they are genuine modal... see more

Theories, Theoretical Scenarios, Their Magnitude Vector Spaces and the Modal Physical Possibilities they Provide

With this chapter we begin the development of a view about those scientific laws each of which has associated with it, a background that consists either of some theory, or a loosely knit collection of statements that involves various physical magnitudes that are involved in the expression of the law... see more

Laws and Accidental Generalities

From the beginning of philosophical interest in laws and explanation, the emphasis was on laws as playing a fundamental role in explanations. This was evident in Aristotle In our time, the emphasis was very clear in C. Hempel and P. Oppenheim’s seminal essay .

D. Armstrong’s Account of Laws: Identity Lost, Regained, and Lost Again

We have seen that Dretske explicitly required that laws related items like F-ness and G-ness, which would normally be understood as a reference to universals. However he also referred to laws as relating physical magnitudes. If all physical magnitudes, including refractive indices in particular, cou... see more

Prelude to Armstrong: A Mathematical Revolution That Inspired F. Ramsey, and Left Russell and Armstrong Unmoved

The story here involves F. Ramsey’s realization that the nineteenth century mathematical debate about functions had implications for the expression of statements of arithmetic in Russell and Whitehead’s Principia. We believe that it is the same flaw, – expressive inadequacy – that lies at the heart ... see more

F. Dretske’s Total Rejection of the Hempel-Model

Dretske’s influential account of laws stands in sharp contrast to the classical accounts of Hempel, Nagel, Carnap, and Braithwaite. I will, in the following, refer to these somewhat different accounts as “the standard view”. Dretske’s view has been seen as marking a striking shift away from that vie... see more

Laws and Corresponding Counterfactuals, – An Untenable Connection

In the preceding chapter, we explored the possibility of how serious criticism of the Hempel model of explanation might have been met by assuming that laws were representable as counterfactuals. That assumption only made matters worse.

Hempel’s Deductive-Nomological Model: In the Beginning …

I shall assume for the present that the basic features of Hempel’s Deductive Nomological Model of Explanation are familiar to the reader: a deductive explanation of some fact Ga about a particular object a, requires some other fact Fa, and since it was assumed that Fa would not by itself yield a ded... see more


This essay on scientific laws has two parts. Part I, , and Part II , Devoted to the explanation of laws by theories: Schematic and non-schematic theories, two kinds of explanation, and the physical modals that each theory provides, and the nomic modals that are associated with laws.

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