Humean laws and explanation

Philosophical Studies 172 (12):3145-3165 (2015)
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Abstract

A common objection to Humeanism about natural laws is that, given Humeanism, laws cannot help explain their instances, since, given the best Humean account of laws, facts about laws are explained by facts about their instances rather than vice versa. After rejecting a recent influential reply to this objection that appeals to the distinction between scientific and metaphysical explanation, I will argue that the objection fails by failing to distinguish between two types of facts, only one of which Humeans should regard as laws. I will then conclude by rebutting a variant of this objection that appeals to a principle of metaphysical explanation recently put forward by Kit Fine

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Dan Marshall
Lingnan University

Citations of this work

Metaphysically explanatory unification.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (6):1659-1683.
Humeanism About Laws of Nature.Harjit Bhogal - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (8):1-10.
Laws and Their Instances.Nina Emery - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (6):1535-1561.
Laws of Nature, Explanation, and Semantic Circularity.Erica Shumener - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):787-815.

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References found in this work

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
New Work for a Theory of Universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction.Gideon Rosen - 2010 - In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 109-135.

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