Laws of Nature: do we need a metaphysics?

Michel Ghins


In this paper, I briefly present the regularity and necessity views and assess their difficulties. I construe scientific laws as universal propositions satisfied by empirically successful scientific models and made — approximately — true by the real systems represented, albeit partially, by these models. I also conceive a scientific theory as a set of models together with a set of propositions, some of which are laws. A scientific law is a universal proposition or statement that belongs to a scientific theory. Scientific laws also are laws of nature since we can provide arguments in favour of natural causal powers that ground the truth of laws. I argue that the truth of counterfactual conditional statements and the occurrence of regularities in nature provide good reasons to believe that real causal powers exist in nature and that the (approximate) truth of scientific laws is based on a metaphysics of nature.


Lei da Natureza; Disposições; Poderes Causais; Novo Essencialismo; Van Fraassen; Ellis


Copyright (c)

Principia: an internationnal journal of epistemology
Published by NEL - Epistemology and Logic Research Group
Federal University of Santa Catarina - UFSC
Center of Philosophy and Human Sciences – CFH
Campus Reitor João David Ferreira Lima
Florianópolis, Santa Catarina - Brazil
CEP: 88040-900

 ISSN: 1414-4217
EISSN: 1808-171