The Law-Governed Universe

The Law-Governed Universe

by John T. Roberts
     
 

ISBN-10: 0199655936

ISBN-13: 9780199655939

Pub. Date: 09/07/2012

Publisher: Oxford University Press

John T. Roberts presents and defends a radically new theory of laws of nature, the Measurability Account of Laws. Though consistent with a Humean ontology, Roberts's theory differs sharply from the most influential Humean theory of laws, David Lewis's Best-System Analysis. Unlike other Humean theories, the Measurability Account affirms that there is an important sense…  See more details below

Overview

John T. Roberts presents and defends a radically new theory of laws of nature, the Measurability Account of Laws. Though consistent with a Humean ontology, Roberts's theory differs sharply from the most influential Humean theory of laws, David Lewis's Best-System Analysis. Unlike other Humean theories, the Measurability Account affirms that there is an important sense in which the laws govern the universe, rather than simply describing it economically. Yet unlike non-Humean theories, it requires only minimal metaphysical commitments. In this way, it combines the advantages of Humean and non-Humean approaches to laws, while avoiding the pitfalls of each. At the heart of the Measurability Account are two new ideas: that lawhood is not a property of facts but rather a role that a proposition can play within a scientific theory, and that what is essential to laws is that they guarantee the reliability of methods of measuring natural quantities. On the basis of these ideas, Roberts argues that we can offer an informative and compelling explanation of why laws have the peculiar counterfactual resilience that sets them apart from accidental uniformities.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199655939
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
09/07/2012
Pages:
420
Sales rank:
1,430,209
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

1 The law-governed world-picture 1

2 In defense of some received views 45

3 The meta-theoretic conception of laws 80

4 An epistemological argument for the meta-theoretic conception of laws 142

5 Laws, governing, and counterfactuals 174

6 When would the laws have been different? 199

7 How could science show that the laws govern? 244

8 Measurement and counterfactuals 272

9 What lawhood is 323

10 Beyond Humean and non-Humean 347

Appendix The MAL in action: A few examples of scientific theories and their laws 381

References 394

Index 401

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