Best-Systems Analyses

Edited by Markus Schrenk (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
Assistant editor: Daian Bica (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
About this topic
Summary The best known Best Systems Account of Laws of Nature is often referred to as the Mill-Ramsey-Lewis account. All three philosophers have formulated versions of it where David Lewis's is the most sophisticated. It says, roughly: Suppose you knew everything about the past, present, and future, all facts, all events, and you organised your entire knowledge as simply as possible in various systems. The statements in these systems must mention natural properties only. A contingent generalisation is, then, a law of nature if and only if it appears as an axiom or theorem in the one system that achieves a far better combination of simplicity, strength and fit than any of the other competing systems. To have strength is to bear a great deal of informational content about the world; to be simple is to state everything in a concise way, not to be redundant, etc., to fit is, especially for the probabilistic laws, to accord as much as possible with the actual outcomes of world history.
Key works The original Best System Analysis is in: Lewis 1973 (pp.73-77); and Lewis 1999 (esp. pp. 8-55 and 224-247). Versions of it that are discussed under the heading Better Best Systems can be found here: Cohen & Callender 2009Schrenk 2006.
Introductions There are no introductions specifically on this subject but see the references in the general entry "Laws of Nature" and here under key works.
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132 found
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  1. Algorithmic Randomness and Probabilistic Laws.Jeffrey A. Barrett & Eddy Keming Chen - manuscript
    We consider two ways one might use algorithmic randomness to characterize a probabilistic law. The first is a generative chance* law. Such laws involve a nonstandard notion of chance. The second is a probabilistic* constraining law. Such laws impose relative frequency and randomness constraints that every physically possible world must satisfy. While each notion has virtues, we argue that the latter has advantages over the former. It supports a unified governing account of non-Humean laws and provides independently motivated solutions to (...)
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  2. Comparing Systems Without Single Language Privileging.Max Bialek - manuscript
    It is a standard feature of the BSA and its variants that systematizations of the world competing to be the best must be expressed in the same language. This paper argues that such single language privileging is problematic because it enhances the objection that the BSA is insufficiently objective, and it breaks the parallel between the BSA and scientific practice by not letting laws and basic kinds be identified/discovered together. A solution to these problems and the ones that prompt single (...)
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  3. The Simplicity of Physical Laws.Eddy Keming Chen - manuscript
    Physical laws are strikingly simple, although there is no a priori reason they must be so. I propose that nomic realists of all types (Humeans and non-Humeans) should accept that simplicity is a fundamental epistemic guide for discovering and evaluating candidate physical laws. This principle of simplicity clarifies and addresses several problems of nomic realism and simplicity. A consequence is that the oft-cited epistemic advantage of Humeanism over non-Humeanism disappears, undercutting an influential epistemological argument for Humeanism. Moreover, simplicity is shown (...)
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  4. Humean Laws: Stability, Undermining, and Context.Antony Eagle - manuscript
    I respond to some challenges to Humean laws deriving from the claimed non-resilience of such laws under counterfactual assumptions.
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  5. The Problem of Disjunctive Explanations.Brad Weslake - manuscript
    I present a problem for theories of explanation, concerning explanations involving disjunctive properties. The problem is particular acute for the explanatory non-fundamentalist, according to whom non-fundamental scientific explanations are sometimes superior to fundamental physical explanations. I criticise solutions to the problem due to Woodward, Strevens and Sober, and Lewis, and then defend a solution inspired by an account of non-fundamental laws recently defended by Callender and Cohen.
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  6. Fine-tuning arguments and the concept of law.John Halpin - manuscript
    The Myopic Anthropic Principle: an attempt to show that the popular anthropic reasoning of our time — often taken to show that laws of nature are fine-tuned by a god for us — should be seen merely as an indication of fine-tuning by us. This preference for short-sightedness in this case is shown (shown?) to support the best-system account of scientific law.
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  7. Ratbag Idealism.Gordon Belot - forthcoming - In Yemima Ben-Menahem (ed.), Rethinking the Concept of Laws of Nature.
    A discussion of the sense in which reality is mind-dependent for Kant and for David Lewis. Plus a lot about space-aliens (and a bit about pimple-worms).
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  8. Unprincipled.Gordon Belot - forthcoming - Review of Symbolic Logic:1-57.
    It is widely thought that chance should be understood in reductionist terms: claims about chance should be understood as claims that certain patterns of events are instantiated. There are many possible reductionist theories of chance, differing as to which possible pattern of events they take to be chance-making. It is also widely taken to be a norm of rationality that credence should defer to chance: special cases aside, rationality requires that one's credence function, when conditionalized on the chance-making facts, should (...)
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  9. What Chance Doesn’t Know.Harjit Bhogal & Michael Townsen Hicks - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    Humean accounts of chance have a problem with undermining futures: they have to accept that some series of events are physically possible and have a nonzero chance but are inconsistent with the chances being what they are. This contradicts basic platitudes about chances (such as those given by Bigelow et al. (1993) and Schaffer (2007)) and leads to inconsistency between plausible constraints on credences. We show how Humeans can avoid these contradictions by drawing on metaphysically impossible worlds that are, nevertheless, (...)
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  10. Does the Best System Need the Past Hypothesis?Chris Dorst - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    Many philosophers sympathetic with a Humean understanding of laws of nature have thought that, in the final analysis, the fundamental laws will include not only the traditional dynamical equations, but also two additional principles: the Past Hypothesis and the Statistical Postulate. The former says that the universe began in a particular very-low-entropy macrostate M(0), and the latter posits a uniform probability distribution over the microstates compatible with M(0). Such a view is arguably vindicated by the orthodox Humean Best System Account (...)
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  11. Symmetries as Humean Metalaws.Callum Duguid - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science 90 (1):171-187.
    Symmetry principles are a central part of contemporary physics, yet there has been surprisingly little metaphysical work done on them. This article develops the Wignerian treatment of symmetries as higher-order laws—metalaws—within a Humean framework of lawhood. Lange has raised two obstacles to Humean metalaws, and the article shows that the account has the resources available to respond to both. It is argued that this framework for Humean metalaws stands as an example of naturalistic metaphysics, able to bring Humeanism into contact (...)
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  12. How to be Humean about symmetries.Toby Friend - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    I describe three extant attempts to identify the global external symmetries within a Humean framework with theorems of some or other deductive systematization of the world, respectively, the best system, a meta-best system and a maximally simple system. Each has merits, but also serious flaws. Instead, I propose a view of global external symmetries as consequences of the structure of Humean-consistent world-making relations.
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  13. The Ideology of Pragmatic Humeanism.Tyler Hildebrand - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    According to the Humean Best Systems Account, laws are generalizations in the best systematization of non-modal matters of fact. Recently, it has become popular to interpret the notion of a best system pragmatically. The _best_ system is sensitive to our interests—that is, to our goals, abilities, and limitations. This account promises a metaphysically minimalistic analysis of laws, but I argue that it is not as minimalistic as it might appear. Some of the concepts it employs are modally robust, leading to (...)
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  14. Laws of Nature.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2024 - In A. R. J. Fisher & Anna-Sofia Maurin (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Properties. London: Routledge. pp. 337-346.
    Properties have an important role in specifying different views on laws of nature: virtually any position on laws will make some reference to properties, and some of the leading views even reduce laws to properties. This chapter will first outline what laws of nature are typically taken to be and then specify their connection to properties in more detail. We then move on to consider three different accounts of properties: natural, essential, and dispositional properties, and we shall see that different (...)
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  15. The Package Deal Account of Naturalness.Harjit Bhogal - 2023 - In Christian Loew, Siegfried Jaag & Michael Townsen Hicks (eds.), Humean Laws for Human Agents. Oxford: Oxford UP.
    Some properties – like charge – are natural, some – like grue are unnatural. The distinction between natural and unnatural properties is normally taken as primitive. However, Barry Loewer’s Package Deal Account (PDA) aims to provide an reductive account of natural properties, integrated with a reductive account of laws of nature. In addition, the account seems to be able to apply to natural properties at the level of fundamental physics, and higher-level, special science, properties. -/- If the account is successful, (...)
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  16. Best-System Laws, Explanation, and Unification.Thomas Blanchard - 2023 - In Christian Loew, Siegfried Jaag & Michael Townsen Hicks (eds.), Humean Laws for Human Agents. Oxford: Oxford UP.
    In recent years, an active research program has emerged that aims to develop a Humean best-system account (BSA) of laws of nature that improves on Lewis’s canonical articulation of the view. Its guiding idea is that the laws are cognitive tools tailored to the specific needs and limitations of creatures like us. While current versions of this “pragmatic Humean” research program fare much better than Lewis’s account along many dimensions, I will argue that they have trouble making sense of certain (...)
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  17. How to Be Humean about Idealization Laws.Toby Friend - 2023 - Philosophy of Science 90 (1):150-170.
    If one has Humean inclinations, what account should one provide for idealization laws? I introduce the currently most popular Humean approach to laws of nature, the best systems account, along with some basic requirements for how to be Humean. I then show why idealization laws are unlikely to be accommodated within this account of laws. Finally, I offer an alternative approach that takes idealization laws to be meta-laws, placing requirements on the theorems of the best system.
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  18. Naturalness by law.Verónica Gómez Sánchez - 2023 - Noûs 57 (1):100-127.
    The intuitive distinction between natural and unnatural properties (e.g., green vs. grue) informs our theorizing not only in fundamental physics, but also in non-fundamental domains. This paper develops a reductive account of this broad notion of naturalness that covers non-fundamental properties: for a property to be natural, I propose, is for it to figure in a law of nature. After motivating the account, I defend it from a potential circularity charge. I argue that a suitably broad notion of lawhood can (...)
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  19. Humeanism and the Pragmatic Turn.Michael Townsen Hicks, Siegfried Jaag & Christian Loew - 2023 - In Christian Loew, Siegfried Jaag & Michael Townsen Hicks (eds.), Humean Laws for Human Agents. Oxford: Oxford UP. pp. 1-15.
    A central question in the philosophy of science is: What is a law of nature? Different answers to this question define an important schism: Humeans, in the wake of David Hume, hold that the laws of nature are nothing over and above what actually happens and reject irreducible facts about natural modality (Lewis, 1983, 1994; cf. Miller, 2015). According to Non-Humeans, by contrast, the laws are metaphysically fundamental (Maudlin, 2007) or grounded in primitive modal structures, such as dispositional essences of (...)
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  20. Laws of Nature.Tyler Hildebrand - 2023 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    This Element provides an opinionated introduction to the metaphysics of laws of nature. The first section distinguishes between scientific and philosophical questions about laws and describes some criteria for a philosophical account of laws. Subsequent sections explore the leading philosophical theories in detail, reviewing the most influential arguments in the literature. The final few sections assess the state of the field and suggest avenues for future research.
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  21. Laws beyond spacetime.Vincent Lam & Christian Wüthrich - 2023 - Synthese 202 (3):1-24.
    Quantum gravity’s suggestion that spacetime may be emergent and so only exist contingently would force a radical reconception of extant analyses of laws of nature. Humeanism presupposes a spatiotemporal mosaic of particular matters of fact on which laws supervene; primitivism and dispositionalism conceive of the action of primitive laws or of dispositions as a process of ‘nomic production’ unfolding over time. We show how the Humean supervenience basis of non-modal facts and primitivist or dispositionalist accounts of nomic production can be (...)
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  22. Humean Laws for Human Agents.Christian Loew, Siegfried Jaag & Michael Townsen Hicks (eds.) - 2023 - Oxford: Oxford UP.
    Humean Laws for Human Agents presents cutting-edge research by leading experts on the Humean account of laws, chance, possibility, and necessity. A central question in metaphysics and philosophy of science is: What are laws of nature? Humeans hold that laws are not sui generis metaphysical entities but merely particularly effective summaries of what actually happens. The most discussed recent work on Humeanism emphasizes the laws' usefulness for limited agents and uses pragmatic considerations to address fundamental and long-standing problems. The current (...)
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  23. From Time Asymmetry to Quantum Entanglement: The Humean Unification.Eddy Keming Chen - 2022 - Noûs 56 (1):227-255.
    Two of the most difficult problems in the foundations of physics are (1) what gives rise to the arrow of time and (2) what the ontology of quantum mechanics is. I propose a unified 'Humean' solution to the two problems. Humeanism allows us to incorporate the Past Hypothesis and the Statistical Postulate into the best system, which we then use to simplify the quantum state of the universe. This enables us to confer the nomological status to the quantum state in (...)
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  24. Laws of Nature: Necessary and Contingent.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (4):875-895.
    This paper shows how a niche account of the metaphysics of laws of nature and physical properties—the Powers-BSA—can underpin both a sense in which the laws are metaphysically necessary and a sense in which it is true that the laws could have been different. The ability to reconcile entrenched disagreement should count in favour of a philosophical theory, so this paper constitutes a novel argument for the Powers-BSA by showing how it can reconcile disagreement about the laws’ modal status. This (...)
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  25. How to be a powers theorist about functional laws, conservation laws and symmetries.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 180 (1):317-332.
    This paper defends an account of the laws of nature in terms of irreducibly modal properties (aka powers) from the threat posed by functional laws, conservation laws and symmetries. It thus shows how powers theorists can avoid ad hoc explanations and resist an inflated ontology of powers and governing laws. The key is to understand laws not as flowing from the essences of powers, as per Bird (2007), but as features of a description of how powers are possibly distributed, as (...)
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  26. Are we free to make the laws?Christian Loew & Andreas Hüttemann - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-16.
    Humeans about laws maintain that laws of nature are nothing over and above the complete distribution of non-modal, categorical properties in spacetime. ‘Humean compatibilists’ argue that if Humeanism about laws is true, then agents in a deterministic world can do otherwise than they are lawfully determined to do because of the distinctive nature of Humean laws. More specifically, they reject a central premise of the Consequence argument by maintaining that deterministic laws of nature are ‘up to us’. In this paper, (...)
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  27. Finitism in the Metaphysical Foundations.Lydia Patton - 2022 - In Michael Bennett McNulty (ed.), Kant's Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science: A Critical Guide. Cambridge University Press. pp. 119-137.
    In this paper, building on recent and longstanding work (Warren 2001, Friedman 2013, Glezer 2018), I investigate how the account of the essences or natures of material substances in the Metaphysical Foundations is related to Kant’s demand for the completeness of the system of nature. We must ascribe causal powers to material substances for the properties of those substances to be observable and knowable. But defining those causal powers requires admitting laws of nature, taken as axioms or principles of natural (...)
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  28. Laws of Nature and Theory Choice.Alessandro Torza - 2022 - Synthese 200 (6):1-28.
    I articulate a Global Best-System Account (GBSA) of laws of nature along broadly Mill–Ramsey–Lewis lines. The guiding idea is that the job of laws is to capture real patterns across time—where a pattern is real if it allows to compress information about matters of particular fact. The GBSA’s key ingredient is a definition of ‘best system’ in terms of a ranking method that meets a number of desiderata: it is rigorously defined; it outputs the ranking based on the candidate systems’ (...)
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  29. Tractability and laws.Isaac Wilhelm - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-17.
    According to the Best System Account of lawhood, laws of nature are theorems of the deductive systems that best balance simplicity and strength. In this paper, I advocate a different account of lawhood which is related, in spirit, to the BSA: according to my account, laws are theorems of deductive systems that best balance simplicity, strength, and also calculational tractability. I discuss two problems that the BSA faces, and I show that my account solves them. I also use my account (...)
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  30. Humean nomic essentialism.Harjit Bhogal & Zee R. Perry - 2021 - Noûs 57 (1):81-99.
    Humeanism – the idea that there are no necessary connections between distinct existences – and Nomic Essentialism – the idea that properties essentially play the nomic roles that they do – are two of the most important and influential positions in the metaphysics of science. Traditionally, it has been thought that these positions were incompatible competitors. We disagree. We argue that there is an attractive version of Humeanism that captures the idea that, for example, mass essentially plays the role that (...)
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  31. There is no measurement problem for Humeans.Chris Dorst - 2021 - Noûs 57 (2):263-289.
    The measurement problem concerns an apparent conflict between the two fundamental principles of quantum mechanics, namely the Schrödinger equation and the measurement postulate. These principles describe inconsistent behavior for quantum systems in so-called "measurement contexts." Many theorists have thought that the measurement problem can only be resolved by proposing a mechanistic explanation of (genuine or apparent) wavefunction collapse that avoids explicit reference to "measurement." However, I argue here that the measurement problem dissolves if we accept Humeanism about laws of nature. (...)
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  32. Lawful Humean explanations are not circular.Callum Duguid - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):6039-6059.
    A long-standing charge of circularity against regularity accounts of laws has recently seen a surge of renewed interest. The difficulty is that we appeal to laws to explain their worldly instances, but if these laws are descriptions of regularities in the instances then they are explained by those very instances. By the transitivity of explanation, we reach an absurd conclusion: instances of the laws explain themselves. While drawing a distinction between metaphysical and scientific explanations merely modifies the challenge rather than (...)
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  33. A puzzle about laws and explanation.Siegfried Jaag - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):6085-6102.
    In this paper, we argue that the popular claim that laws of nature explain their instances creates a philosophical puzzle when it is combined with the widely held requirement that explanations need to be underpinned by ‘wordly’ relations. We argue that a “direct solution” to the puzzle that accounts for both explanatory laws and explanatory realism requires endorsing at least a radical metaphysics. Then, we examine the ramifications of a “skeptical solution”, i.e., dissolving it by giving up at least one (...)
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  34. Varieties of Humeanism: an introduction.László Kocsis, Tamás Demeter & Iulian D. Toader - 2021 - Synthese 199 (Humeanisms):15069-15086.
  35. Humeanism and laws of nature: scope and limits.Cristián Soto - 2021 - Revista de Humanidades de Valparaíso 17:145-167.
    Nomological Humeanism has developed into a research program encompassing several variations on a single theme, namely, the view that laws are statements about regularities that we find in nature. After briefly revisiting an early form of nomological Humeanism in Hume’s critique of the idea of necessary connection, this article critically examines Lewis’ two-fold approach based on Humean supervenience and the best system account. We shall point out three limits of nomological Humeanism, which are widely recognized in the literature: its inadequacy (...)
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  36. Why do the Laws Support Counterfactuals?Chris Dorst - 2020 - Erkenntnis 87 (2):545-566.
    This paper aims to explain why the laws of nature are held fixed in counterfactual reasoning. I begin by highlighting three salient features of counterfactual reasoning: it is conservative, nomically guided, and it uses hindsight. I then present a rationale for our engagement in counterfactual reasoning that aims to make sense of these features. In particular, I argue that counterfactual reasoning helps us evaluate the evidential relations between unanticipated pieces of evidence and various hypotheses of interest about the history of (...)
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  37. Why Defend Humean Supervenience?Siegfried Jaag & Christian Loew - 2020 - Journal of Philosophy 117 (7):387-406.
    Humean Supervenience is a metaphysical model of the world according to which all truths hold in virtue of nothing but the total spatiotemporal distribution of perfectly natural, intrinsic properties. David Lewis and others have worked out many aspects of HS in great detail. A larger motivational question, however, remains unanswered: As Lewis admits, there is strong evidence from fundamental physics that HS is false. What then is the purpose of defending HS? In this paper, we argue that the philosophical merit (...)
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  38. Metaphysical Essays - Reductionism, Laws of Nature, and Modal Semantics.Vivek Chandy Mathew - 2020 - Dissertation, Cornell University
  39. Eternal Worlds and the Best System Account of Laws.Ryan A. Olsen & Christopher Meacham - 2020 - In Valia Allori (ed.), Statistical Mechanics and Scientific Explanation: Determinism, Indeterminism and Laws of Nature. World Scientific.
    In this paper we apply the popular Best System Account of laws to typical eternal worlds – both classical eternal worlds and eternal worlds of the kind posited by popular contemporary cosmological theories. We show that, according to the Best System Account, such worlds will have no laws that meaningfully constrain boundary conditions. It’s generally thought that lawful constraints on boundary conditions are required to avoid skeptical arguments. Thus the lack of such laws given the Best System Account may seem (...)
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  40. Ideal Laws, Counterfactual Preservation, and the Analyses of Lawhood.Peter Tan - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (3):574-589.
    This paper presents a unified argument against three widely held contemporary analyses of lawhood—Humean reductionism about laws, the dispositionalist view of laws, and the view of laws as relation...
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  41. Humean laws, explanatory circularity, and the aim of scientific explanation.Chris Dorst - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (10):2657-2679.
    One of the main challenges confronting Humean accounts of natural law is that Humean laws appear to be unable to play the explanatory role of laws in scientific practice. The worry is roughly that if the laws are just regularities in the particular matters of fact (as the Humean would have it), then they cannot also explain the particular matters of fact, on pain of circularity. Loewer (2012) has defended Humeanism, arguing that this worry only arises if we fail to (...)
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  42. Towards a Best Predictive System Account of Laws of Nature.Chris Dorst - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):877-900.
    This article argues for a revised best system account of laws of nature. David Lewis’s original BSA has two main elements. On the one hand, there is the Humean base, which is the totality of particular matters of fact that obtain in the history of the universe. On the other hand, there is what I call the ‘nomic formula’, which is a particular operation that gets applied to the Humean base in order to output the laws of nature. My revised (...)
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  43. Super-Humeanism and free will.Michael Esfeld - 2019 - Synthese 198 (7):6245-6258.
    Super-Humeanism is an even more parsimonious ontology than Lewisian standard Humean metaphysics in that it rejects intrinsic properties. There are point objects, but all there is to them are their relative positions and the change of them. Everything else supervenes on the Humean mosaic thus conceived. Hence, dynamical parameters come in on a par with the laws through their position in the best system. The paper sets out how Super-Humeanism has the conceptual means to reject van Inwagen’s consequence argument not (...)
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  44. Are non-accidental regularities a cosmic coincidence? Revisiting a central threat to Humean laws.Aldo Filomeno - 2019 - Synthese 198 (6):5205-5227.
    If the laws of nature are as the Humean believes, it is an unexplained cosmic coincidence that the actual Humean mosaic is as extremely regular as it is. This is a strong and well-known objection to the Humean account of laws. Yet, as reasonable as this objection may seem, it is nowadays sometimes dismissed. The reason: its unjustified implicit assignment of equiprobability to each possible Humean mosaic; that is, its assumption of the principle of indifference, which has been attacked on (...)
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  45. A quasi-regularist view of laws.Nélida Gentile - 2019 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 23 (3):445–459.
    It will be analyzed some views about laws and highlight certain aspects in each of them that, in our opinion, are to the detriment of their plausibility. The views that we will analyze are the standard regularist conception and the most sophisticated variant known as the Mill-Ramsey-Lewis (MRL) approach, on the one hand, and the necessitarianist versions of David Armstrong and Stephen Mumford, on the other. Finally, we present an alternative proposal that is intermediate between the regularist conception and Mumford’s (...)
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  46. Naturalness constraints on best systems accounts of laws.Tyler Hildebrand - 2019 - Ratio 32 (3):163-172.
    According to best systems accounts, laws of nature are generalizations in the best systematization of particular matters of fact. Metrics such as simplicity and strength determine which systematization is best, but these are notoriously language relative. For this reason, David Lewis proposed a constraint on languages of inquiry: all predicates must be natural. This constraint is sometimes interpreted as requiring us to know which natural properties are instantiated in our world prior to scientific theorizing. I argue that this interpretation is (...)
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  47. What Humeans should say about tied best systems.Christian Loew & Siegfried Jaag - 2019 - Analysis 80 (2):273-282.
    The Humean best systems account identifies laws of nature with the regularities in a system of truths that, as a whole, best conforms to scientific standards for theory-choice. A principled problem for the BSA is that it returns the wrong verdicts about laws in cases where multiple systems, containing different regularities, satisfy these standards equally well. This problem affects every version of the BSA because it arises regardless of which standards for theory-choice Humeans adopt. In this paper, we propose a (...)
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  48. Humean Laws and (Nested) Counterfactuals.Christian Loew & Siegfried Jaag - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (278):93-113.
    Humean reductionism about laws of nature is the view that the laws reduce to the total distribution of non-modal or categorical properties in spacetime. A worry about Humean reductionism is that it cannot motivate the characteristic modal resilience of laws under counterfactual suppositions and that it thus generates wrong verdicts about certain nested counterfactuals. In this paper, we defend Humean reductionism by motivating an account of the modal resilience of Humean laws that gets nested counterfactuals right.
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  49. Berkeley’s Best System: An Alternative Approach to Laws of Nature.Walter Ott - 2019 - Journal of Modern Philosophy 1 (1):4.
    Contemporary Humeans treat laws of nature as statements of exceptionless regularities that function as the axioms of the best deductive system. Such ‘Best System Accounts’ marry realism about laws with a denial of necessary connections among events. I argue that Hume’s predecessor, George Berkeley, offers a more sophisticated conception of laws, equally consistent with the absence of powers or necessary connections among events in the natural world. On this view, laws are not statements of regularities but the most general rules (...)
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  50. Why Humean Causation Is Extrinsic.Daniel Pallies - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):139-148.
    According to a view that goes by “Humeanism,” causal facts supervene on patterns of worldly entities. The simplest form of Humeanism is the constant conjunction theory: a particular type-F thing causes a particular type-G thing iff (i) that type-Fis conjoined with that type-G thing and (ii) all F’s are conjoined with G’s. The constant conjunction theory implies that all causation is extrinsic, in the following sense: for all positive causal facts pertaining to each possible region,it’s extrinsic to that region that (...)
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