Laws and Lawmakers Science, Metaphysics, and the Laws of Nature

Laws and Lawmakers Science, Metaphysics, and the Laws of Nature

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Description

Laws of nature have long puzzled philosophers. What distinguishes laws from facts about the world that do not rise to the level of laws? How can laws be contingent and nevertheless necessary? In this brief, accessible study, Lange offers provocative and original answers to these questions. He argues that laws are distinguished by their necessity, which is grounded in primitive subjunctive facts (expressed by counterfactual conditionals). While recognizing that natural necessity is distinct from logical, metaphysical, and mathematical necessity, Lange explains how natural necessity constitutes a species of the same genus as those other varieties of necessity. Along the way, Lange discusses the relation between laws and objective chances, as well as such unjustly neglected topics as the completeness of the laws of physics and whether the laws of nature can change. Lange's elegant, engagingly written book is non-technical and suitable for undergraduate philosophers (and undergraduate scientists interested in the logical foundations of science). It is "must reading" for metaphysicians and philosophers of science working on laws, chance, counterfactuals, modality, or the philosophy of physics.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 280 pages
  • 144.78 x 210.82 x 20.32mm | 408.23g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195328132
  • 9780195328134

About Marc Lange

Marc Lange is Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hillshow more

Review quote

Marc Lange takes a refreshingly open-minded and original approach to laws of nature... highly recommended to all philosophers of science who are interested in laws of nature and neighbouring topics. Reading Lange's book will certainly pay off as a serious and carefully argued challenge to many received opinions on laws of nature. * Alexander Reutlinger, The Philosophical Quarterly *show more

Table of contents

CHAPTER 1: LAWS FORM COUNTERFACTUALLY STABLE SETS; CHAPTER 2: NATURAL NECESSITY; CHAPTER 3: THREE PAYOFFS OF MY ACCOUNT; CHAPTER 4: A WORLD OF SUBJUNCTIVESshow more

Rating details

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