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

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Humean Laws, Grounding and Scientific Explanation: the Disambiguation Strategy

A well-known criticism of Humean accounts of laws is sometimes called the circularity objection. According to Humeans, laws are grounded in (fundamental) particles and properties, but also explain some of these particles’ properties; thus, some particles’ properties (help) explain themselves.
In response, Loewer (2012) blamed the ambiguity of the word ‘explain’; the Humean mosaic metaphysically explains the laws, which, by contrast, scientifically explain their instances.
I will show that this disambiguation strategy merely neutralizes very specific versions of the circularity objection, leaving other versions unaffected.
Two further strategies for rescuing Humeanism will be explored and rebutted.

Author Information:

Pablo Carnino    
Philosophy Department
University of Geneva (Visiting at Princeton University at the time of the event)


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