Philosophical Studies 107 (3):191-218 (2002)

Barry Ward
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Acceptance of Humean Supervenience and the reductive Humean analyses that entail it leads to a litany of inadequately explained conflicts with our intuitions regarding laws and possibilities. However, the non-reductive Humeanism developed here, on which law claims are understood as normative rather than fact stating, can accommodate those intuitions. Rational constraints on such norms provide a set of consistency relations that ground a semantics formulated in terms of factual-normative worlds, solving the Frege-Geach problem of construing unasserted contexts. This set of factual-normative worlds includes exactly the intuitive sets of nomologically possible worlds associated with each possible set of laws. The extension of the semantics to counterfactual and subjunctive conditionals is sketched. Potential objections involving subjectivity, mind-dependence, and non-factuality are discussed.
Keywords Laws of Nature  Humean Supervenience  Humeanism  Counterfactuals  Projectivism  Expressivism
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/a:1014583323702
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