Laws, counterfactuals, stability, and degrees of lawhood

Philosophy of Science 66 (2):243-267 (1999)
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Abstract

I identify the special sort of stability (invariance, resilience, etc.) that distinguishes laws from accidental truths. Although an accident can have a certain invariance under counterfactual suppositions, there is no continuum between laws and accidents here; a law's invariance is different in kind, not in degree, from an accident's. (In particular, a law's range of invariance is not "broader"--at least in the most straightforward sense.) The stability distinctive of the laws is used to explicate what it would mean for there to be multiple grades (or degrees) of physical necessity. Whether there are is for science to discover.

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Marc Lange
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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References found in this work

Elements of symbolic logic.Hans Reichenbach - 1947 - London: Dover Publications.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 36 (3):602-605.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Philosophy of Science 42 (3):341-344.
Introduction to Logical Theory.Peter Frederick Strawson - 1952 - London, England: Routledge.

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