Laws, explanation, governing, and generation

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (4):537 – 552 (2007)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Advocates and opponents of Humean Supervenience (HS) have neglected a crucial feature of nomic explanation: laws can explain by generating descriptions of possibilities. Dretske and Armstrong have opposed HS by arguing that laws construed as Humean regularities cannot explain, but their arguments fail precisely because they neglect to consider this generating role of laws. Humeans have dismissed the intuitive violations of HS manifested by John Carroll's Mirror Worlds as erroneous, but distinguishing the laws' generating role from the non-Humean notion that laws govern undermines such responses, and renews the force of Carroll's critique of HS. However, it also undermines the assumption that HS is constitutive of Humeanism. The generating role of laws readily motivates a non-reductive Humeanism that violates HS. An account is sketched, and is seen to provide a novel explanation of the governing intuition.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,038

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles


Added to PP

285 (#71,460)

6 months
31 (#105,125)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Barry Ward
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Citations of this work

The Power to Govern.Erica Shumener - 2022 - Philosophical Perspectives 36 (1):270-291.
Concepts of Law of Nature.Brendan Shea - 2011 - Dissertation, University of Illinois
Marc Lange: Laws and lawmakers: science, metaphysics, and the laws of nature. [REVIEW]Barry Ward - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 43 (2):155-158.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Malden, Mass.: Blackwell.
What is a Law of Nature?D. M. Armstrong - 1983 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Sydney Shoemaker.

View all 27 references / Add more references