The Regularity Theory I: Humean Supervenience

Bernard Berofsky

in Nature's Challenge to Free Will

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199640010
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738197 | DOI:
 						The Regularity Theory I: Humean Supervenience

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A central tenet of the regularity theory is the doctrine of Humean supervenience (HS), the view that two worlds that are identical in their nonnomic facts must be identical in their laws. John Carroll, John Roberts, and Mark Lange reject HS in favor of the governance principle. All versions of the governance principle fail because they deny the existence of contingent laws and a strong case is made for their existence. Biology is an excellent source of examples. Problems with earlier versions of the regularity theory, e.g., the naïve regularity theory and the best systems analysis, are documented. Since HS depends on the distinction between the nomic and the nonnomic, that distinction is characterized. Carroll’s mirror argument, his appeal to modal principles, and Tooley’s case against the regularity theory are all shown to fail.

Keywords: regularity theory; Humean supervenience; governance principle; contingent laws; best systems analysis; Carroll; Roberts; Tooley; Lange; nonnomic

Chapter.  13596 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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