From metaphysics to method

The stimulating programme of The Dappled World is metaphysics in the service of methodology. To say that the world is dappled is to say that the laws of nature only apply to certain regions. A central argument for this claim is epistemic. Although the laws, especially laws of physics, are typically thought of as universal, in fact we have only managed to construct precise quantitative models for a very limited range of cases, most of which lie within the artificially simplified environment of the laboratory. We lack models for many real-word situations not because we haven’t tried to build them, but because we have tried and failed. This failure is compatible with the existence of a complete set of physical laws, perhaps never to be known, which governs all regions; but the evidence of our history of failures points the other way, to a dappled world.
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