The Dretske-Tooley-Armstrong theory of natural laws and the inference problem

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Abstract:

In this article I intend to show that the inference problem, one of the main objections raised against the anti-Humean theory of natural laws defended by Dretske, Tooley and Armstrong ("DTA theory" for short), can be successfully answered. First, I argue that a proper solution should meet two essential requirements that the proposals made by the DTA theorists do not satisfy. Then I state a solution to the inference problem that assumes a local immanentistic view of universals, a partial definition of the nomic necessitation relation as a relation of existential dependence, and a principle constraining multiple occupancy. I also argue that my solution meets the two requirements. Finally, I deal with non-standard laws such as exclusion laws, causal laws and laws involving spatiotemporal parameters.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0269859022000013319

Affiliations: Departament de Filologia i Filosofia, Universitat de Girona, Girona, Spain

Publication date: October 1, 2002

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