Platonic Laws of Nature

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (3):365-381 (2020)
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Abstract

David Armstrong accepted the following three theses: universals are immanent, laws are relations between universals, and laws govern. Taken together, they form an attractive position, for they promise to explain regularities in nature—one of the most important desiderata for a theory of laws and properties—while remaining compatible with naturalism. However, I argue that the three theses are incompatible. The basic idea is that each thesis makes an explanatory claim, but the three claims can be shown to run in a problematic circle. I then consider which thesis we ought to reject and suggest some general lessons for the metaphysics of laws.

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Tyler Hildebrand
Dalhousie University

Citations of this work

Non‐Humean Theories of Natural Necessity.Tyler Hildebrand - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (5):1-1.
Laws of Nature as Constraints.Emily Adlam - 2022 - Foundations of Physics 52 (1):1-41.
A Puzzle About Laws and Explanation.Siegfried Jaag - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):6085-6102.
The Power to Govern.Erica Shumener - forthcoming - Philosophical Perspectives.

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References found in this work

New Work for a Theory of Universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
No Work for a Theory of Grounding.Jessica M. Wilson - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (5-6):535-579.
Monism: The Priority of the Whole.Jonathan Schaffer - 2010 - Philosophical Review 119 (1):31-76.
The Question of Realism.Kit Fine - 2001 - Philosophers' Imprint 1:1-30.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Philosophy of Science 42 (3):341-344.

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