I articulate a Global Best-System Account (GBSA) of laws of nature along broadly Mill–Ramsey–Lewis lines. The guiding idea is that the job of laws is to capture real patterns across time—where a pattern is real if it allows to compress information about matters of particular fact. The GBSA’s key ingredient is a definition of ‘best system’ in terms of a ranking method that meets a number of desiderata: it is rigorously defined; it outputs the ranking based on the candidate systems’ epistemic virtues; it is objective, in that the output does not depend on one’s choice of basic concepts; it avoids two trivialization results (by Lewis and Arrow-Okasha); and it does not appeal to naturalness, or other metaphysical notions in that vicinity. Although the GBSA is independent of the controversial thesis of Humean Supervenience, it satisfies the weaker thesis that laws of nature supervene on the total physical state of the world. Moreover, the resulting notion of lawhood is hyperintensional, unlike the neighboring notion of nomological necessity. Finally, GBSA-laws do not track naturalness, contra the Lewisian orthodoxy.

Laws of Nature and Theory Choice / Torza, A. - In: SYNTHESE. - ISSN 0039-7857. - 200:6(2022), pp. 1-28. [10.1007/s11229-022-03950-1]

Laws of Nature and Theory Choice

TORZA A
2022-01-01

Abstract

I articulate a Global Best-System Account (GBSA) of laws of nature along broadly Mill–Ramsey–Lewis lines. The guiding idea is that the job of laws is to capture real patterns across time—where a pattern is real if it allows to compress information about matters of particular fact. The GBSA’s key ingredient is a definition of ‘best system’ in terms of a ranking method that meets a number of desiderata: it is rigorously defined; it outputs the ranking based on the candidate systems’ epistemic virtues; it is objective, in that the output does not depend on one’s choice of basic concepts; it avoids two trivialization results (by Lewis and Arrow-Okasha); and it does not appeal to naturalness, or other metaphysical notions in that vicinity. Although the GBSA is independent of the controversial thesis of Humean Supervenience, it satisfies the weaker thesis that laws of nature supervene on the total physical state of the world. Moreover, the resulting notion of lawhood is hyperintensional, unlike the neighboring notion of nomological necessity. Finally, GBSA-laws do not track naturalness, contra the Lewisian orthodoxy.
2022
Laws of Nature and Theory Choice / Torza, A. - In: SYNTHESE. - ISSN 0039-7857. - 200:6(2022), pp. 1-28. [10.1007/s11229-022-03950-1]
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11381/2964343
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 0
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact