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The Metaphysics Within Physics$
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Tim Maudlin

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199218219

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199218219.001.0001

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Why Be Humean?

Why Be Humean?

Chapter:
(p.50) 2 Why Be Humean?
Source:
The Metaphysics Within Physics
Author(s):

Tim Maudlin (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199218219.003.0003

In some contemporary metaphysics theories, there is an explicit preference or desire, or in some cases demand, for‘Humean’ theories. Humean, or ‘empiricist’ theories of law and of chance are sought; theories that posit irreducible nomic, modal, dispositional, or causal facts are dismissed as un-Humean. David Lewis has characterized a central motivation for some of his theories as a desire to ‘uphold not so much the truth of Humean supervenience but the tenability of it’, a somewhat modest but still mysterious ambition. Why, to put it bluntly, should one want to be Humean? What is the appeal of ‘Humean Supervenience’ such that metaphysical accounts should aspire to it? Although Lewis and others issue calls to rally to Hume's banner, no strategic justification for this campaign is offered. The reason for this reticence is that the motivations will not withstand close scrutiny in the light of day. The aim of this essay is to unshutter the windows.

Keywords:   quantum theory, separability, David Lewis, physical statism

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