Every View is a View From Somewhere: Pragmatist Laws and Possibility

Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 38 (3):357-372 (2023)
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Abstract

Humean accounts of laws are often contrasted with governing accounts, and recent developments have added pragmatic versions of Humeanism. This paper offers Mitchell's pragmatist, perspectival account of laws as a third option. The differences between these accounts come down to the role of modality. Mitchell's bottom-up account allows for subtle gradations of modal content to be conveyed by laws. The perspectival character of laws is not an accident or something to be eventually eliminated - it is part of how this modal content is conveyed. I conclude with a discussion of the metaphysical commitments in Humeanism as requiring a perspectiveless view of the manifold from outside, and how Mitchell's situated account is better able to account for the substantive notion of possibility involved in scientific laws.

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Holly Andersen
Simon Fraser University

Citations of this work

The Ideology of Pragmatic Humeanism.Tyler Hildebrand - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Thinking about mechanisms.Peter Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Causality.Judea Pearl - 2000 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Unsimple Truths: Science, Complexity, and Policy.Sandra D. Mitchell - 2009 - London: University of Chicago Press.

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