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Single Idea 6744

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 4. Regularities / a. Regularity theory]

Full Idea

If a law of nuclear physics says that nuclei of a certain kind have a probability p of decaying within time t, what is the regularity here?

Gist of Idea

Where is the regularity in a law predicting nuclear decay?


Alexander Bird (Philosophy of Science [1998], Ch.1)

Book Reference

Bird,Alexander: 'Philosophy of Science' [UCL Press 2000], p.35

A Reaction

Hume gives an answer, in terms of regularities observed among previous instances. Nevertheless the figure p given in the law does not itself have any instances, so the law is predicting something that may never have actually happened before.