The concept of physical law

New York: Cambridge University Press (1985)
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Abstract

The Concept of Physical Law is an original and creative defense of the Regularity theory of physical law, the concept that physical laws are nothing more than descriptions of whatever universal truths happen to be instanced in nature. Professor Swartz clearly identifies and analyzes the arguments and intuitions of the opposing Necessitarian theory, and argues that the standard objection to the Regularity theory turns on a mistaken view of what Regularists mean by 'physical impossibility'; that it is impossible to construct an empirical test that can distinguish between events Necessitarians call 'mere accidents' and those they call 'nornologically necessary', and that the Necessitarian theory cannot account fot human beings' free wills. Other topics in this important work include: the distinction between instrumental scientific laws and true physical laws; the distinction between failure and doom; potentialities; miracles and marvels; predictability and uniformity; statistical and numerical laws; and necessity-in-praxis.

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Citations of this work

The Non-Governing Conception of Laws of Nature.Helen Beebee - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (3):571-594.
Humean compatibilism.Helen Beebee & Alfred Mele - 2002 - Mind 111 (442):201-223.
Regularity theories reassessed.Michael Baumgartner - 2006 - Philosophia 36 (3):327-354.
Mechanistic Constitution in Neurobiological Explanations.Jens Harbecke - 2010 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (3):267-285.
Inference to the Best Explanation - An Overview.Frank Cabrera - 2022 - In Lorenzo Magnani (ed.), Handbook of Abductive Cognition. Cham: Springer. pp. 1-34.

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