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John T. Roberts [22]John Thomas Roberts [1]
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John T. Roberts
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  1. Ceteris Paribus Post.John Earman, John T. Roberts & Sheldon Smith - 2002 - Erkenntnis 57 (3):281-301.
    Many have claimed that ceteris paribus laws are a quite legitimate feature of scientific theories, some even going so far as to claim that laws of all scientific theories currently on offer are merely CP. We argue here that one of the common props of such a thesis, that there are numerous examples of CP laws in physics, is false. Moreover, besides the absence of genuine examples from physics, we suggest that otherwise unproblematic claims are rendered untestable by the mere (...)
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  2.  58
    The Law-Governed Universe.John T. Roberts - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
    The law-governed world-picture -- A remarkable idea about the way the universe is cosmos and compulsion -- The laws as the cosmic order : the best-system approach -- The three ways : no-laws, non-governing-laws, governing-laws -- Work that laws do in science -- An important difference between the laws of nature and the cosmic order -- The picture in four theses -- The strategy of this book -- The meta-theoretic conception of laws -- The measurability approach to laws -- What (...)
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  3. Contact with the Nomic: A Challenge for Deniers of Humean Supervenience About Laws of Nature Part I: Humean Supervenience.John Earman & John T. Roberts - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (1):1–22.
    This is the first part of a two-part article in which we defend the thesis of Humean Supervenience about Laws of Nature (HS). According to this thesis, two possible worlds cannot differ on what is a law of nature unless they also differ on the Humean base. The Humean base is easy to characterize intuitively, but there is no consensus on how, precisely, it should be defined. Here in Part I, we present and motivate a characterization of the Humean base (...)
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  4. Contact with the Nomic: A Challenge for Deniers of Humean Supervenience About Laws of Nature Part II: The Epistemological Argument for Humean Supervenience.John Earman & John T. Roberts - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (2):253–286.
    In Part I, we presented and motivated a new formulation of Humean Supervenience about Laws of Nature (HS). Here in Part II, we present an epistemological argument in defense of HS, thus formulated. Our contention is that one can combine a modest realism about laws of nature with a proper recognition of the importance of empirical testability in the epistemology of science only if one accepts HS.
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  5.  21
    CP-Law Statements as Vague, Self-Referential, Self-Locating, Statistical, and Perfectly in Order.John T. Roberts - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S10):1775-1786.
    I propose understanding CP-law statements as statements that assert the existence of vague statistical laws, not by fully specifying the contents of those laws, but by picking them out via a description that is both self-referential and self-locating. I argue that this proposal validates many common assumptions about CP-laws and correctly classifies many examples of putative CP-laws. It does this while avoiding the most serious worries that motivate some philosophers to be skeptical of CP-laws, namely the worry that they lack (...)
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  6. Measurability And Physical Laws.John T. Roberts - 2005 - Synthese 144 (3):433-447.
    I propose and motivate a new account of fundamental physical laws, the Measurability Account of Laws (MAL). This account has a distinctive logical form, in that it takes the primary nomological concept to be that of a law relative to a given theory, and defines a law simpliciter as a law relative to some true theory. What makes a proposition a law relative to a theory is that it plays an indispensable role in demonstrating that some quantity posited by that (...)
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  7. Some Laws of Nature Are Metaphysically Contingent.John T. Roberts - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (3):445-457.
    Laws of nature are puzzling because they have a 'modal character'—they seem to be 'necessary-ish'—even though they also seem to be metaphysically contingent. And it is hard to understand how contingent truths could have such a modal character. Scientific essentialism is a doctrine that seems to dissolve this puzzle, by showing that laws of nature are actually metaphysically necessary. I argue that even if the metaphysics of natural kinds and properties offered by scientific essentialism is correct, there are still some (...)
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  8. Contact with the Nomic.John T. Roberts - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (1):1-22.
    This is the first part of a two-part article in which we defend the thesis of Humean Supervenience about Laws of Nature (HS). According to this thesis, two possible worlds cannot differ on what is a law of nature unless they also differ on the Humean base. The Humean base is easy to characterize intuitively, but there is no consensus on how, precisely, it should be defined. Here in Part I, we present and motivate a characteriza- tion of the Humean (...)
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  9.  83
    Leibniz on Force and Absolute Motion.John T. Roberts - 2003 - Philosophy of Science 70 (3):553-573.
    I elaborate and defend an interpretation of Leibniz on which he is committed to a stronger space-time structure than so-called Leibnizian space-time, with absolute speeds grounded in his concept of force rather than in substantival space and time. I argue that this interpretation is well-motivated by Leibniz's mature writings, that it renders his views on space, time, motion, and force consistent with his metaphysics, and that it makes better sense of his replies to Clarke than does the standard interpretation. Further, (...)
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  10.  76
    Undermining Undermined: Why Humean Supervenience Never Needed to Be Debugged (Even If It's a Necessary Truth).John T. Roberts - 2001 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2001 (3):S98-.
    The existence of "undermining futures" appears to show that a contradiction can be deduced from the conjunction of Humean supervenience (HS) about chance and the Principal Principle. A number of strategies for rescuing HS from this problem have been proposed recently. In this paper, a novel way of defending HS from the threat is presented, and it is argued that this defense has advantages not shared by others. In particular, it requires no revisionism about chance, and it is equally available (...)
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  11. Laws About Frequencies.John T. Roberts - unknown
    A law about frequencies would be a law of nature that imposes a constraint on one or more (actual, global) frequencies. On any of the leading philosophical approaches to laws of nature, there could be laws about frequencies. Hypotheses that posit laws about frequencies turn out to behave very similarly to hypotheses that posit corresponding laws about probabilities or chances -- they make the same predictions, provide similar explanations, and are confirmed or disconfirmed by empirical evidence in the same ways. (...)
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  12.  2
    Undermining Undermined: Why Humean Supervenience Never Needed to Be Debugged.John T. Roberts - 2001 - Philosophy of Science 68 (S3):S98-S108.
    The existence of "undermining futures" appears to show that a contradiction can be deduced from the conjunction of Humean supervenience about chance and the Principal Principle. A number of strategies for rescuing HS from this problem have been proposed recently. In this paper, a novel way of defending HS from the threat is presented, and it is argued that this defense has advantages not shared by others. In particular, it requires no revisionism about chance, and it is equally available to (...)
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  13.  12
    Contact with the Nomic: A Challenge for Deniers of Humean Supervenience About Laws of Nature Part I: Humean Supervenience.John Earman & John T. Roberts - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (1):1-22.
    This is the first part of a two-part article in which we defend the thesis of Humean Supervenience about Laws of Nature. According to this thesis, two possible worlds cannot differ on what is a law of nature unless they also differ on the Humean base. The Humean base is easy to characterize intuitively, but there is no consensus on how, precisely, it should be defined. Here in Part I, we present and motivate a characterization of the Humean base that, (...)
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  14.  4
    Contact with the Nomic.John Earman & John T. Roberts - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (2):253-286.
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  15.  62
    Reply to Skow.John T. Roberts - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (1):163-167.
    We have argued against a standard way of defining Humean supervenience about laws, and in favor of an alternative definition. Skow says that our argument against the standard definition makes a big mistake. He is right about this. But that mistake is correctable. Skow also argues that our alternative definition is seriously flawed. We think he is wrong about this.
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  16.  52
    Extra-Physical Structure in a Physical World? Or, Is the Study of Life Provincial?John T. Roberts - 2011 - The Monist 94 (2):221-243.
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  17. The Semantic Novelty of Theoretical Terms.John T. Roberts - unknown
    Often when a new scientific theory is introduced, new terms are introduced along with it. Some of these new terms might be given explicit definitions using only terms that were in currency prior to the introduction of the theory. Some of them might be defined using other new terms introduced with the theory. But it frequently happens that the standard formulations of a theory do not define some of the new terms at all; these terms are adopted as primitives. The (...)
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  18.  13
    Measurements, Laws, and Counterfactuals.John T. Roberts - 2013 - In Stephen Mumford & Matthew Tugby (eds.), Metaphysics and Science. Oxford University Press. pp. 29.
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  19.  12
    Belot, Gordon. Geometric Possibility.John T. Roberts - 2012 - Review of Metaphysics 65 (4):863-864.
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  20.  5
    And Counterfactuals.John T. Roberts - 2013 - In Stephen Mumford & Matthew Tugby (eds.), Metaphysics and Science. Oxford University Press. pp. 29.
  21. Determinism.John T. Roberts - 2006 - In J. Pfeifer & Sahotra Sarkar (eds.), The Philosophy of Science: An Encyclopedia. Psychology Press. pp. 1.