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This intuition comes from the observation that nature seems to be uniform. Those who hold the first intuition that the laws necessitate what happens and prohibit what does not happen do not think the second intuition is wrong. In fact, if, what the laws say, must happen, then it also does happen and we get the regularities for free. The necessities in nature supposedly produce the regularities and thus explain why they are there.

Yet, those who subscribe to some kind of regularity view deny that laws necessitate anything because they usually agree with David Hume that the postulation of necessity in nature is suspect. Maudlin develops and defends a primitivist view of the laws of nature, i. Read it also if you are looking for an intro to causation or explanation! A good start for further readings on laws is also the respective chapter in the more recent Schrenk Show all references.

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Subcategories: Anti-Realism about Laws Best-Systems Analyses Ceteris Paribus Laws Humeanism and Nonhumeanism about Laws Law Statements Laws as Relations between Universals Necessitarianism about Laws Probabilistic Laws Special Science Laws Laws of Nature, Misc Jobs in this area. Boston University. Options 1 filter applied. Export this page: Choose a format.. Off-campus access. Using PhilPapers from home? Create an account to enable off-campus access through your institution's proxy server.

Be alerted of all new items appearing on this page. Editorial team. Add an entry to this list:. Explanation and Laws in General Philosophy of Science. Remove from this list. Nancy Cartwright has drawn attention to how explanations are actually given in mathematical sciences. She argues that these procedures support an antirealist thesis that fundamental explanatory laws are not true. Moreover, she claims to be be essentially following Duhem's line of thought in developing this thesis. Without wishing to detract from the importance of her observations, it is suggested that they do not necessarily require the antirealist thesis.

The antirealist interpretation of Duhem is also disputed. It is argued that Duhemian Philosophy of Physical Science.

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This book on the philosophy of science argues for an empiricism, opposed to the tradition of David Hume, in which singular rather than general causal claims are primary; causal laws express facts about singular causes whereas the general causal claims of science are ascriptions of capacities or causal powers, capacities to make things happen.

Taking science as measurement, Cartwright argues that capacities are necessary for science and that these can be measured, provided suitable conditions are met. There are case studies Causation and Laws in Metaphysics. Dispositions and Laws in Metaphysics. Science, Logic, and Mathematics. SummaryThere are two rival ways in which events in the world can be explained: the covering law way and the dispositionalist way.

The covering law model, which takes the law of nature as its fundamental explanatory unit, faces a number of renown difficulties. Rather than attempt to patch up this approach, the alternative dispositionalist strategy is recommended. On this view, general facts are dependent upon particular facts about what things do, rather than vice versa.

This way of viewing the world The dispositionalist strategy faces its own difficulties of explaining generality and contingency of behaviour. It is shown, however, that at least these difficulties should not dissuade the dispositionalist. The prospects for a convincing dispositionalist ontology to replace one based on laws of nature are thus healthy. Liar Paradox in Logic and Philosophy of Logic. The topic of laws of nature provides a kind of Rorschach test for philosophy. Some philosophers see in laws only Humean regularities; others see a kind of physical necessity; others see a necessity closer to logical necessity; others see expressions of causal powers; others see inference tickets; still others see relations between universals; We can also perform a meta-Rorschach test on the results of the first test.

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