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Nature's Challenge to Free Will$
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Bernard Berofsky

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199640010

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199640010.001.0001

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The Regularity Theory I: Humean Supervenience

The Regularity Theory I: Humean Supervenience

(p.175) 10 The Regularity Theory I: Humean Supervenience
Nature's Challenge to Free Will

Bernard Berofsky

Oxford University Press

A central tenet of the regularity theory is the doctrine of Humean supervenience (HS), the view that two worlds that are identical in their nonnomic facts must be identical in their laws. John Carroll, John Roberts, and Mark Lange reject HS in favor of the governance principle. All versions of the governance principle fail because they deny the existence of contingent laws and a strong case is made for their existence. Biology is an excellent source of examples. Problems with earlier versions of the regularity theory, e.g., the naïve regularity theory and the best systems analysis, are documented. Since HS depends on the distinction between the nomic and the nonnomic, that distinction is characterized. Carroll’s mirror argument, his appeal to modal principles, and Tooley’s case against the regularity theory are all shown to fail.

Keywords:   regularity theory, Humean supervenience, governance principle, contingent laws, best systems analysis, Carroll, Roberts, Tooley, Lange, nonnomic

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