A note on scientific essentialism, laws of nature, and counterfactual conditionals

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (2):227 – 241 (2004)
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Abstract

Scientific essentialism aims to account for the natural laws' special capacity to support counterfactuals. I argue that scientific essentialism can do so only by resorting to devices that are just as ad hoc as those that essentialists accuse Humean regularity theories of employing. I conclude by offering an account of the laws' distinctive relation to counterfactuals that portrays laws as contingent but nevertheless distinct from accidents by virtue of possessing a genuine variety of necessity.

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Marc Lange
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

References found in this work

Natural laws in scientific practice.Marc Lange - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Philosophy of Nature: A Guide to the New Essentialism.Brian David Ellis - 2002 - Chesham: Mcgill-Queen's University Press.
» The Nature of Natural Laws «.Chris Swoyer - 1982 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 60 (3):1982.

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