PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Minimal Anti-Humeanism

I argue that there is a tension in our theorizing about laws of nature. We have powerful reasons to think that laws are not universal generalizations -- if they are we would face the problem of explanatory circularity. But we have powerful reasons, stemming from our practice of using and reasoning with laws of nature, to think that laws are universal generalizations.

I suggest a view of laws that avoids this tension -- I call it Minimal anti-Humeanism. The view says that the laws are the universal generalizations that are not grounded in their instances. This view has advantages in addition to avoiding the tension -- for example, it is ontologically minimal and provides clear answers to the classic identification and inference problems for accounts of law. I end by locating the view in the Humean versus anti-Humean debate and conclude that it is an anti-Humean view, but one that may well be attractive to those with Humean inclinations.

Author Information:

Harjit Bhogal    
New York University


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