Humean laws and explanation

Barry Loewer

Abstract


My primary focus in this paper is on an objection to Humean account of laws and specifically to David Lewis’ “best systems analysis” (BSA). The objection is that the laws according to the BSA (which I call L-laws) fail to account for the ability of laws to explain. In contrast governing laws (which I will call G-laws) are alleged to account for the role of laws in scientific explanations by virtue of their governing role. If governing is required for laws to be explanatory then Humean accounts like Lewis’ are dead in the water since explanation is central to the role of laws in the sciences. However, I will argue that there are effective rebuttals to arguments that Humean laws don’t explain and that actually it is governing accounts that have difficulty with explanation.



Keywords


Laws of nature; Humean supervenience; Best systems analysis; Explanation

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5007/1808-1711.2019v23n3p373

Copyright (c) 2020 Barry Loewer

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Principia: an internationnal journal of epistemology
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