What Humeans should say about tied best systems

Analysis 80 (2):273-282 (2019)
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The Humean best systems account identifies laws of nature with the regularities in a system of truths that, as a whole, best conforms to scientific standards for theory-choice. A principled problem for the BSA is that it returns the wrong verdicts about laws in cases where multiple systems, containing different regularities, satisfy these standards equally well. This problem affects every version of the BSA because it arises regardless of which standards for theory-choice Humeans adopt. In this paper, we propose a Humean response to the problem. We invoke pragmatic aspects of Humean laws to show that the BSA, despite violating some of our intuitive judgements, can capture everything that is relevant for scientific practice.

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Author Profiles

Christian Loew
Umeå University
Siegfried Jaag
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf

Citations of this work

Humean Laws and (Nested) Counterfactuals.Christian Loew & Siegfried Jaag - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (278):93-113.
Humean Idealism.Daniel Kodaj - 2023 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 101 (1):34-50.

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References found in this work

Laws and symmetry.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1989 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The metaphysics within physics.Tim Maudlin - 2007 - New York: Oxford University Press.
New work for a theory of universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
What is a Law of Nature?D. M. Armstrong - 1983 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Sydney Shoemaker.

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