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Nature's MetaphysicsLaws and Properties$
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Alexander Bird

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199227013

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199227013.001.0001

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Are There Any Laws, and If So What Are They?

Are There Any Laws, and If So What Are They?

Chapter:
(p.189) 9 Are There Any Laws, and If So What Are They?
Source:
Nature's Metaphysics
Author(s):

Alexander Bird (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199227013.003.0009

Mumford argues that there are no laws, starting from a metaphysics close to dispositional essentialism. This chapter examines Mumford's arguments and concludes that there is a place for laws within a dispositional essentialist metaphysics. Mumford also argues that science does not give a particular role to laws — they are not themselves a natural kind. In response, a role for laws is identified, leading to a general characterization of laws of a domain as the fundamental, general explanatory relationships between kinds, quantities, and qualities of that domain, that supervene upon the essential natures of those things.

Keywords:   laws of nature, lawlessness, governing, science, Mumford

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