Why are the laws of nature so important to science?

Abstract
Why should science be so interested in discovering whether p is a law over and above whether p is true? The answer may involve the laws' relation to counterfactuals: p is a law iff p would still have obtained under any counterfactual supposition that is consistent with the laws. But unless we already understand why science is especially concerned with the laws, we cannot explain why science is especially interested in what would have happened under those counterfactual suppositions consistent with the laws. It is argued that the laws form the only non-trivially "stable" set, where "stability" is invariance under a certain range of counterfactual suppositions not itself defined by reference to the laws. It is then explained why science should be so interested in identifying a non-trivially "stable" set: because of stability's relation to the best set of "inductive strategies".
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  Philosophy of Mind
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ISBN(s) 0031-8205  
DOI 10.2307/2653785
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