Synthese 197 (6):2525-2550 (2020)

Authors
Christian Loew
Umeå University
Siegfried Jaag
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
Abstract
Humean reductionism about laws of nature appears to leave a central aspect of scientific practice unmotivated: If the world’s fundamental structure is exhausted by the actual distribution of non-modal properties and the laws of nature are merely efficient summaries of this distribution, then why does science posit laws that cover a wide range of non-actual circumstances? In this paper, we develop a new version of the Humean best systems account of laws based on the idea that laws need to organize information in a way that maximizes their cognitive usefulness for creature like us. We argue that this account motivates scientific practice because the laws’ applicability to non-actual circumstances falls right out of their cognitive usefulness.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-018-1829-1
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References found in this work BETA

Laws and Symmetry.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
New Work for a Theory of Universals.David Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Time and Chance.David Z. Albert - 2000 - Harvard University Press.
Humean Supervenience Debugged.David K. Lewis - 1994 - Mind 103 (412):473--490.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.

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Citations of this work BETA

Humeanism About Laws of Nature.Harjit Bhogal - forthcoming - Philosophy Compass.

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