A better best system account of lawhood

Philosophical Studies 145 (1):1 - 34 (2009)
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Abstract

Perhaps the most significant contemporary theory of lawhood is the Best System (/MRL) view on which laws are true generalizations that best systematize knowledge. Our question in this paper will be how best to formulate a theory of this kind. We’ll argue that an acceptable MRL should (i) avoid inter-system comparisons of simplicity, strength, and balance, (ii) make lawhood epistemically accessible, and (iii) allow for laws in the special sciences. Attention to these problems will bring into focus a useful menu of novel MRL theories, some of which solve problems the original MRL theory could not. Hence we conceive of the paper as moving toward a better Best System theory of laws.

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Author Profiles

Craig Callender
University of California, San Diego
Jonathan Cohen
University of California, San Diego

Citations of this work

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The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas Samuel Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Otto Neurath.
Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Malden, Mass.: Blackwell.
How the laws of physics lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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