Single Idea 4794

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 3. Laws and Generalities]

Full Idea

Rather than a sentence being used for prediction because it is a law, it is called a law because it is used for prediction.

Gist of Idea

We don't use laws to make predictions, we call things laws if we make predictions with them


Nelson Goodman (Fact, Fiction and Forecast (4th ed) [1954], p.21), quoted by Stathis Psillos - Causation and Explanation 5.4

Book Reference

Psillos,Stathis: 'Causation and Explanation' [Acumen 2002], p.142

A Reaction

This smacks of dodgy pragmatism, and sounds deeply wrong. The perception of a law has to be prior to making the prediction. Why do we make the prediction, if we haven't spotted a law. Goodman is mesmerised by language instead of reality.