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Laws in Nature : Routledge Studies in Twentieth-Century Philosophy - Stephen Mumford

Laws in Nature

Routledge Studies in Twentieth-Century Philosophy

Hardcover Published: 22nd July 2004
ISBN: 9780415311281
Number Of Pages: 248

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This book outlines a major new theory of natural laws. The book begins with the question of whether there are any genuinely law-like phenomena in nature. The discussion addresses questions currently being debated by metaphysicians such as whether the laws of nature are necessary or contingent and whether a property can be identified independently of its causal role.

Industry Reviews

'Its boldness and thoroughness, combined with its readability, make this a book that anybody concerned with the metaphysics of laws will wish to read. They will be informed and stimulated by it.' - The Australasian Journal of Philosophy

'Mumford's book is an important contribution to metaphysics. If you disagree with [Mumford], you are bound to have a lot of serious work to do. This is metaphysics at its best.' - Brian Ellis, La Trobe University, Australia

'An important and original contribution to the growing literature in defence of powers.' - The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

List of illustrationsp. xi
Prefacep. xii
Acknowledgementsp. xvi
Laws in science and philosophyp. 1
Laws and explanationsp. 1
Apology for metaphysicsp. 4
Laws in naturep. 8
Laws in sciencep. 10
Lawlessnessp. 13
Overview of the bookp. 15
Humean lawlessnessp. 19
The lawless worldp. 21
Just one little thing and then anotherp. 21
A sceptical dutyp. 22
Humean lawlessnessp. 23
Necessity is in the headp. 24
Regularities and sciencep. 26
Conjunctions, connections and lawsp. 27
Humean 'theories of laws'p. 30
Regularities and best systemsp. 31
Regularity and less-than-universal regularityp. 31
Irrefutable but unappealingp. 32
The critique of the regularity theoryp. 35
The best systems theoryp. 40
Problems for best systemsp. 45
Humean superveniencep. 48
Hume's argumentp. 50
The Humean view of necessity and lawsp. 50
The arguments of the Treatise and Enquiryp. 51
Was Hume a sceptical realist?p. 57
Humean scepticismp. 61
Conjunction as evidence of necessityp. 63
Nomological realismp. 65
The nomological argumentp. 67
What is nomological realism?p. 67
Do we need a nomological argument?p. 68
The argumentp. 69
Without laws, there would be no orderp. 72
Without laws, there would be nothingp. 74
Without laws, there would be no sciencep. 76
How compelling is the nomological argument?p. 77
Cosmic coincidencep. 79
Patterns without lawsp. 81
A less direct argument for laws?p. 82
Natural necessitation relationsp. 83
Real laws and their rolep. 83
The basic DTA theoryp. 85
Key virtues over the regularity theoryp. 87
Variants on the DTA theoryp. 89
Some perceived weaknesses of DTAp. 92
Armstrong's nomological argumentp. 96
The nomic relationp. 99
Instantiation and superveniencep. 101
How can Armstrong's laws govern?p. 102
Quidditismp. 103
Necessitarian essentialismp. 105
The New Essentialismp. 105
The essentialist theory of lawsp. 106
Natural kindsp. 110
Essential propertiesp. 113
The universal accidentalp. 116
From reference to essence?p. 118
From science to essence?p. 118
Essentialist laws?p. 120
Necessary laws?p. 122
Essentialist laws not provedp. 123
Realist lawlessnessp. 125
Are natural laws a natural kind?p. 127
Conclusionp. 127
The elusive and ineffable nature of lawsp. 128
Laws as a kind?p. 130
Disagreementsp. 132
The diversity of lawsp. 134
A family resemblance between laws?p. 139
Modernization?p. 141
The Central Dilemmap. 143
The Central Dilemma: introductionp. 143
The argument: summary formulationp. 144
The governing role of lawsp. 145
The Central Dilemma, first horn: externalized lawsp. 146
External laws and quidditismp. 149
First horn: summaryp. 152
The Central Dilemma, second horn: internalized lawsp. 153
Newtonian spiritsp. 156
Second horn: summaryp. 157
Full statement and conclusionp. 158
Modal propertiesp. 160
Necessity in naturep. 160
Full strength necessity in lawsp. 161
Contingent natural necessityp. 163
De re necessityp. 166
Is a power's necessity merely analytic?p. 168
Powerful propertiesp. 170
Shifting potenciesp. 174
Restricted combinatorialsimp. 175
Possible propertiesp. 180
Natural necessityp. 181
Objections and repliesp. 182
Responsesp. 182
Holism versus discretap. 182
Relativityp. 185
Do all properties have a causal essence?p. 187
Epiphenomenap. 188
How might the account be extended to relations?p. 190
Meinongianismp. 192
Why is this not a theory of laws?p. 195
Why is this theory not subject to the Central Dilemma?p. 197
Am I looking for the wrong kind of law?p. 198
Can all laws be replaced by powers?p. 198
Powers are no better understood than lawsp. 199
Conclusion: law and metaphorp. 201
Law as metaphorp. 201
Law as the wrong metaphorp. 202
Law as a harmful metaphorp. 203
Notesp. 206
Bibliographyp. 218
Indexp. 225
Table of Contents provided by Rittenhouse. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780415311281
ISBN-10: 0415311284
Series: Routledge Studies in Twentieth-Century Philosophy
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 248
Published: 22nd July 2004
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.51
Edition Number: 1

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