Laws, explanation, governing, and generation

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (4):537 – 552 (2007)
Barry Ward
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
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.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/00048400701654853
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 34,999
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Blackwell.
Philosophical Papers Vol. II.Lewis David - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Humean Supervenience Debugged.David Lewis - 1994 - Mind 103 (412):473--490.

View all 20 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

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

Similar books and articles

Theory in History.Leon J. Goldstein - 1967 - Philosophy of Science 34 (1):23-40.
The Law-Governed Universe.John T. Roberts - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
What is the Significance of the Intuition That Laws of Nature Govern?Susan Schneider - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):307 – 324.
Mechanisms, Laws, and Regularities.Holly Andersen - 2011 - Philosophy of Science 78 (2):325-331.
The Non-Governing Conception of Laws of Nature.Helen Beebee - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (3):571-594.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
193 ( #28,625 of 2,275,136 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
19 ( #20,972 of 2,275,136 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature