I edited them into a poem — not my usual way of working — but even when that was done I kept on making the lists.
What is it to be a Law? Here are four reasons philosophers examine what it is to be a law of nature: First, as indicated above, laws at least appear to have a central role in scientific practice.
Second, laws are important to many other philosophical issues. Third, Goodman famously suggested that there is a connection between lawhood and confirmability by an inductive inference.
Fourth, philosophers love a good puzzle. Suppose that everyone here is seated cf. Then, trivially, that everyone here is seated is true. Though true, this generalization does not seem to be a law. It is just too accidental. What makes the difference?
This may not seem like much of a puzzle. That everyone here is seated is spatially restricted in that it is about a specific place; the principle of relativity is not similarly restricted. So, it is easy to think that, unlike laws, accidentally true generalizations are about specific places.
But that is not what makes the difference. There are true nonlaws that are not spatially restricted. Consider the unrestricted generalization that all gold spheres are less than one mile in diameter. There are no gold spheres that size and in all likelihood there never will be, but this is still not a law.
There also appear to be generalizations that could express laws that are restricted. The perplexing nature of the puzzle is clearly revealed when the gold-sphere generalization is paired with a remarkably similar generalization about uranium spheres: All gold spheres are less than a mile in diameter.
All uranium spheres are less than a mile in diameter. Though the former is not a law, the latter arguably is. What makes the former an accidental generalization and the latter a law? Systems One popular answer ties being a law to deductive systems.
The idea dates back to John Stuart Mill [f. Deductive systems are individuated by their axioms. The logical consequences of the axioms are the theorems. Some true deductive systems will be stronger than others; some will be simpler than others. These two virtues, strength and simplicity, compete.
It is easy to make a system stronger by sacrificing simplicity: It is easy to make a system simple by sacrificing strength: According to Lewis73the laws of nature belong to all the true deductive systems with a best combination of simplicity and strength.
So, for example, the thought is that it is a law that all uranium spheres are less than a mile in diameter because it is, arguably, part of the best deductive systems; quantum theory is an excellent theory of our universe and might be part of the best systems, and it is plausible to think that quantum theory plus truths describing the nature of uranium would logically entail that there are no uranium spheres of that size LoewerIn-depth news and talking heads waltzed over country music to lead the Chico radio market last fall.
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Science includes many principles at least once thought to be laws of nature: Newton’s law of gravitation, his three laws of motion, the ideal gas laws, Mendel’s laws, the laws of supply and demand, and so on.
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