Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Barry Smith, Alexander Bird and Keith DeRose

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25 ideas

26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 1. Laws of Nature
Newton's laws cannot be confirmed individually, but only in combinations [Bird]
Parapsychology is mere speculation, because it offers no mechanisms for its working [Bird]
Existence requires laws, as inertia or gravity are needed for mass or matter [Bird]
Laws are explanatory relationships of things, which supervene on their essences [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 2. Types of Laws
Laws are either disposition regularities, or relations between properties [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 4. Regularities / a. Regularity theory
There may be many laws, each with only a few instances [Bird]
'All uranium lumps are small' is a law, but 'all gold lumps are small' is not [Bird]
There can be remarkable uniformities in nature that are purely coincidental [Bird]
A law might have no instances, if it was about things that only exist momentarily [Bird]
If laws are just instances, the law should either have gaps, or join the instances arbitrarily [Bird]
Where is the regularity in a law predicting nuclear decay? [Bird]
Laws cannot explain instances if they are regularities, as something can't explain itself [Bird]
Similar appearance of siblings is a regularity, but shared parents is what links them [Bird]
We can only infer a true regularity if something binds the instances together [Bird]
If we only infer laws from regularities among observations, we can't infer unobservable entities. [Bird]
Accidental regularities are not laws, and an apparent regularity may not be actual [Bird]
That other diamonds are hard does not explain why this one is [Bird]
Dispositional essentialism says laws (and laws about laws) are guaranteed regularities [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 4. Regularities / b. Best system theory
A regularity is only a law if it is part of a complete system which is simple and strong [Bird]
With strange enough predicates, anything could be made out to be a regularity [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 5. Laws from Universals
Laws cannot offer unified explanations if they don't involve universals [Bird]
If the universals for laws must be instantiated, a vanishing particular could destroy a law [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / b. Scientific necessity
Salt necessarily dissolves in water, because of the law which makes the existence of salt possible [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / d. Knowing essences
If flame colour is characteristic of a metal, that is an empirical claim needing justification [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 9. Counterfactual Claims
Essentialism can't use conditionals to explain regularities, because of possible interventions [Bird]