Why are the laws of nature so important to science?

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
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0031-8205  
DOI 10.2307/2653785
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 31,317
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Stability and Lawlikeness.Jani Raerinne - 2013 - Biology and Philosophy 28 (5):833-851.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Mechanisms, Laws, and Regularities.Holly K. Andersen - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (2):325-331.
Ceteris Paribus Laws.Alexander Reutlinger, Gerhard Schurz & Andreas Hüttemann - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
A Theory of Non-Universal Laws.Alexander Reutlinger - 2011 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (2):97 - 117.
Natural Laws in Scientific Practice.Marc Lange - 2000 - Oxford University Press.
Laws, Counterfactuals, Stability, and Degrees of Lawhood.Marc Lange - 1999 - Philosophy of Science 66 (2):243-267.
Laws and Their Stability.Marc Lange - 2005 - Synthese 144 (3):415Ð432.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
385 ( #8,235 of 2,224,469 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
8 ( #60,862 of 2,224,469 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature