John Foster presents a clear and powerful discussion of a range of topics relating to our understanding of the universe: induction, laws of nature, and the existence of God. He begins by developing a solution to the problem of induction - a solution whose key idea is that the regularities in the workings of nature that have held in our experience hitherto are to be explained by appeal to the controlling influence of laws, as forms of natural necessity. His second
line of argument focuses on the issue of what we should take such necessitational laws to be, and whether we can even make sense of them at all. Having considered and rejected various alternatives, Foster puts forward his own proposal: the obtaining of a law consists in the causal imposing of a
regularity on the universe as a regularity. With this causal account of laws in place, he is now equipped to offer an argument for theism. His claim is that natural regularities call for explanation, and that, whatever explanatory role we may initially assign to laws, the only plausible ultimate explanation is in terms of the agency of God. Finally, he argues that, once we accept the existence of God, we need to think of him as creating the universe by a method which imposes regularities on it
in the relevant law-yielding way. In this new perspective, the original nomological-explanatory solution to the problem of induction becomes a theological-explanatory solution.
The Divine Lawmaker is bold and original in its approach, and rich in argument. The issues on which it focuses are among the most important in the whole epistemological and metaphysical spectrum.
`Extraordinarily lucid, and a joy to read. . . . the book treats some of the most interesting questions (to my mind) in epistemology and metaphysics. Even those who may not follow Foster in accepting the notion that laws of nature are divine creations will find of interest his terse discussion of the problem of induction, and his treatment of the metaphysics of nomic necessity.'
Evan Fales, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
1: The Problem of Induction
2: Some Attempted Solutions
3: The Nomological-explanatory Solution
4: Two Objections to NES
5: The Problem of Laws
6: Armstrong's Theory
7: The Scenario without Laws
8: The Theistic Account
9: God and Laws
10: Completing the Picture