The problem of retention

Synthese 194 (6) (2017)

Authors
Matthew Tugby
Durham University
Abstract
A popular version of anti-Humeanism is one that views fundamental properties as being irreducibly dispositional in nature, and it is a view to which I am attracted. Proponents of this view typically object to Humean regularity theories of laws on the basis that they do not explain why our world is regular rather than chaotic from moment to moment. It is thought that, for this reason, Humeanism does not provide firm enough foundations for induction. However, in this paper I argue that it is far from clear how these anti-Humeans can themselves explain this regularity. This is because it is far from clear how they can explain why the entities in our world do not change their dispositional properties arbitrarily over time. This is a neglected problem, which I call the retention problem. In an attempt to solve this problem, several naturalistic explanations of retention are explored. Unfortunately, none of these explanations is free of problems, showing that dispositional forms of anti-Humeanism may not have as many advantages as some have assumed where the problem of induction is concerned
Keywords Laws  Regularity  Induction  Dispositional properties  Prediction  Explanation
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Reprint years 2017
DOI 10.1007/s11229-016-1036-x
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References found in this work BETA

Truth and Truthmakers.D. M. Armstrong - 2004 - Cambridge University Press.
The Meaning of 'Meaning'.Hillary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
Laws in Nature.Stephen Mumford - 2002 - Routledge.

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Citations of this work BETA

Platonic Laws of Nature.Tyler Hildebrand - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-17.
Natural Properties, Necessary Connections, and the Problem of Induction.Tyler Hildebrand - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:668-689.

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