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Laws and Symmetry$
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Bas C. van Fraassen

Print publication date: 1989

Print ISBN-13: 9780198248606

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198248601.001.0001

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Universals: Laws Grounded in Nature

Universals: Laws Grounded in Nature

Chapter:
(p.94) 5 Universals: Laws Grounded in Nature
Source:
Laws and Symmetry
Author(s):

Bas C. van Fraassen (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198248601.003.0005

Universals accounts of laws of nature begin with a robust anti‐nominalism: there are real properties and relations that are to be distinguished from sets or arbitrary classifications. Those real entities are then drawn on to provide a concept of laws operative in nature. Accounts of this sort here critically examined include those of Fred Dretske, Michael Tooley, and David Armstrong. These accounts display most saliently the impossibility of a simultaneous metaphysical solution to the joint problems of inference and of identification. Special attention is given to the failures of David Armstrong's account of probabilistic laws and of Michael Tooley's concept of probability inspired by Rudolf Carnap's views.

Keywords:   anti‐nominalism, David Armstrong, Rudolf Carnap, chance, Fred Dretske, probability, properties, Michael Tooley, universals

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