Universals: Laws Grounded in Nature

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

 Universals: Laws Grounded in Nature

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Universals accounts of laws of nature begin with a robust anti‐nominalism: there are real properties and relations that are to be distinguished from sets or arbitrary classifications. Those real entities are then drawn on to provide a concept of laws operative in nature. Accounts of this sort here critically examined include those of Fred Dretske, Michael Tooley, and David Armstrong. These accounts display most saliently the impossibility of a simultaneous metaphysical solution to the joint problems of inference and of identification. Special attention is given to the failures of David Armstrong's account of probabilistic laws and of Michael Tooley's concept of probability inspired by Rudolf Carnap's views.

Keywords: anti‐nominalism; David Armstrong; Rudolf Carnap; chance; Fred Dretske; probability; properties; Michael Tooley; universals

Chapter.  14511 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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