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

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Regularity Comparativism about Mass in Newtonian Gravity

Comparativism---the view that mass ratios are not grounded in intrinsic masses---faces a challenge by Baker which proves that intrinsic masses are empirically meaningful. Regularity comparativism uses the Mill-Ramsey-Lewis Best System Account to have both the Laws of Newtonian Gravity and the absolute mass scale supervene on a comparativist Humean mosaic as a package deal. I discuss three objections to this view, and conclude that regularity comparativism is untenable. 1) The non-seperability of comparativism clashes with the Humean framework; 2) Reducing intrinsic masses in this way also reduces mass ratios; 3) the regularity protocol does not succeed in picking out an absolute mass scale.

Author Information:

Niels Martens    
Department of Philosophy
University of Oxford


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