Bas C. van Fraassen

in Laws and Symmetry

Published in print November 1989 | ISBN: 9780198248606
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597459 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks


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The historical role of the concept of a law of nature in medieval and early modern physics engendered a view of science as continuous with metaphysics, which has tended to dominate philosophy of nature and of science. Meanwhile, with the development of mathematical methods, the advanced sciences began to focus on the structural characteristics and constraints of models, now generally described in terms of symmetry. Simple historical examples illustrate this trend.

Keywords: history of physics; law of nature; mathematical methods; metaphysics; modern physics; philosophy of science; symmetry

Chapter.  5185 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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