Natural laws and the problem of provisos

Erkenntnis 38 (2):233Ð248 (1993)
Authors
Marc Lange
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Abstract
Hempel and Giere contend that the existence of provisos poses grave difficulties for any regularity account of physical law. However, Hempel and Giere rely upon a mistaken conception of the way in which statements acquire their content. By correcting this mistake, I remove the problem Hempel and Giere identify but reveal a different problem that provisos pose for a regularity account — indeed, for any account of physical law according to which the state of affairs described by a law-statement presupposes a Humean regularity. These considerations suggest a normative analysis of law-statements. On this view, law-statements are not distinguished from accidental generalizations by the kind of Humean regularities they describe because a law-statement need not describe any Humean regularity. Rather, a law-statement says that in certain contexts, one ought to regard the assertion of a given type of claim, if made with justification, as a proper way to justify a claim of a certain other kind.
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DOI 10.1007/BF01128982
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References found in this work BETA

Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Blackwell.
How the Laws of Physics Lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1955 - Harvard University Press.
What is a Law of Nature?D. M. Armstrong - 1983 - Cambridge University Press.

View all 18 references / Add more references

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