Laws and Lawlessness

Synthese 144 (3):397-413 (2005)
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Abstract

I develop a metaphysical position that is both lawless and anti-Humean. The position is called realist lawlessness and contrasts with both Humean lawlessness and nomological realism – the claim that there are laws in nature. While the Humean view also allows no laws, realist lawlessness is not Humean because it accepts some necessary connections in nature between distinct properties. Realism about laws, on the other hand, faces a central dilemma. Either laws govern the behaviour of properties from the outside or from the inside. If the former, an unacceptable quidditist view of properties follows. But no plausible account of laws within properties can be developed that permits a governing role specifically for laws. I conclude in favour of eliminativism about laws. At the conceptual core, the notion of a law in nature is misleading. It is suggestive of an otherwise static world in need of animation.

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Stephen Mumford
Durham University

References found in this work

Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Malden, Mass.: Blackwell.
A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1997 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
What is a Law of Nature?D. M. Armstrong - 1983 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Sydney Shoemaker.
Scientific Essentialism.Brian Ellis - 2001 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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