Chapter

The Regularity Theory II: Laws and Accidental Generalizations

Bernard Berofsky

in Nature's Challenge to Free Will

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199640010
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738197 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199640010.003.0011
 						The Regularity Theory II: Laws and Accidental Generalizations

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The critiques of the regularity theory by Fred Dretske, Michael Tooley, and D. M. Armstrong are shown to fail. A categorization of “accidental generalizations” is offered. The failures of the best system analysis version of the regularity theory, for example, the failure to define simplicity and the failure to produce a measure to weigh the gain in simplicity against the loss of information strength, are cited. Various principles for distinguishing laws from accidental generalizations without invoking necessity are offered. Use is made of James Woodward and Christopher Hitchcock’s approach to explanation in terms of invariant generalizations. A charge of circularity resulting from the use of counterfactuals is rebutted by introducing the theory of counterfactuals of Eric Hiddleston. Results are summarized in the form of a systematicity analysis of three principles designed to distinguish laws from accidental generalizations.

Keywords: regularity theory; Dretske; Tooley; Armstrong; accidental generalizations; best systems analysis; Woodward; Hitchcock; Hiddleston; systematicity analysis

Chapter.  20878 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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