Readings on Laws of Nature / Edition 1

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As a subject of inquiry, laws of nature exist in the overlap between metaphysics and the philosophy of science. Over the past three decades, this area of study has become increasingly central to the philosophy of science. It also has relevance to a variety of topics in metaphysics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, and epistemology.

Readings on Laws of Nature is the first anthology to offer a contemporary history of the problem of laws. The book is organized around three key issues: the matter of distinguishing laws from mere correlations, questions concerning inductive reasoning and laws, and the consideration of whether there are any true laws in science.

Designed for class use, the anthology covers a remarkably broad range of views and concerns, and consists exclusively of articles that have proved highly influential in the field. Readings on Laws of Nature will also serve as a valuable research and reference tool for philosophers who do not specialize in the subject, but who have occasion to examine concepts relating to the laws of nature in their own work.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“An excellent introduction to recent debates on laws which focus mostly on the problem of ‘ceteris paribus’ conditions. For anyone familiar with the early exposition of necessitarian and regularity views in the 1970s and 1980s, this collection is most valuable as it brings together some of the most important recent contributions.”
Philosophy  in Review

"This anthology contains everything the student of the philosophy of science should ever want to read about laws and everything the metaphysician was afraid the philosophy of science student might miss!"
—Alex Rosenberg, Duke University

“The notion of a law of nature has long been recognized to be a central topic for the philosophy of science.  In recent years a great deal of valuable work has been done, from widely differing viewpoints.  An anthology was clearly required.  Here is a most useful one, edited with an introduction by John W. Carroll, himself a player in the game.”

—David Armstrong, University of Sydney

“Carroll has done teachers, student, and researchers in the philosophy of science a tremendous service by bringing together this set of articles.  Anyone who reads through this collection will have a good grasp of the state of the art in research on the philosophical problem of laws, and how we got here.”

—John T. Roberts, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822958529
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Publication date: 8/15/2004
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

John W. Carroll, author of Laws of Nature, is associate professor of philosophy at North Carolina State University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Laws of nature 16
2 The nature of laws 38
3 Do the laws of physics state the facts? 71
4 Confirmation and the nomological 84
5 Induction, explanation, and natural necessity 98
6 Armstrong on laws and probabilities 112
7 Confirmation and law-likeness 135
8 The world as one of a kind / natural necessity and laws of nature 141
9 Natural laws and the problem of provisos 161
10 Humean supervenience 176
11 Ceteris paribus, there is no problem of provisos 207
12 The non-governing conception of laws of nature 250
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