Natural Laws in Scientific Practice (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, May 15, 2000 - Science - 368 pages
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It is often presumed that the laws of nature have special significance for scientific reasoning. But the laws' distinctive roles have proven notoriously difficult to identify--leading some philosophers to question if they hold such roles at all. This study offers original accounts of the roles that natural laws play in connection with counterfactual conditionals, inductive projections, and scientific explanations, and of what the laws must be in order for them to be capable of playing these roles. Particular attention is given to laws of special sciences, levels of scientific explanation, natural kinds, ceteris-paribus clauses, and physically necessary non-laws.
  

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Fresh and penetrating.

Contents

Introduction
4
2 Three roles played by laws in science
12
3 Coming attractions
24
The variety of laws of nature
31
Lawhood and nonlocal predicates
35
Lewiss reductive analysis as a useful contrast
40
The Relation of Laws to Counterfactuals
43
1 Preservation under counterfactual antecedents
44
Laws Regularities and Provisos
161
2 The problem of provisos
163
3 What a proviso means
171
4 Provisos and regularities
176
5 Nonbacktracking again
179
7 A further kind of proviso
184
Accounts of laws as inferencelicenses 7 Schlick Ryle and others
189
The Root Commitment
193

2 Challenges to Apreservation
59
3 A+preservation
84
4 Why Apreservation?
91
Why Are the Laws of Nature So Important to Science I?
96
2 Stability
100
3 Counterfactuals and the root commitment 37 Multiple grades of physical necessity
108
1 Inductive confirmation 77 Goodmans suggestion
112
2 Two intuitions about induction
116
3 Suitability
125
4 Inductive confirmability physical necessity and preservation
128
Alternative notions of inductive confirmation
133
2 What Earmans notions of projection fail to capture
135
Inductive confirmation and the paradox of the ravens
140
Why Are the Laws of Nature So Important to Science II?
144
2 Inductive strategies as free electives
149
3 Conclusion
157
2 Physically necessary nonlaws
202
3 Inductive strategies
208
4 Natural kinds and laws about laws
221
The Autonomy of Scientific Disciplines and Levels of Scientific Explanation
229
2 Preservation variation and laws concerning particular biological species
239
3 What is the proviso?
241
4 The proviso identified
246
5 Micro and macro explanations
254
6 Stability and the autonomy of macro disciplines
264
7 Explanation and possibility
269
Afterword
274
Notes
278
References
332
Index
342
Copyright

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