Ideas from 'What is a Law of Nature?' by David M. Armstrong [1983], by Theme Structure

[found in 'What is a Law of Nature?' by Armstrong,D.M. [CUP 1985,0-521-31481-x]].

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1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 5. Against Analysis
If you know what it is, investigation is pointless. If you don't, investigation is impossible
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 7. Facts / b. Types of fact
Negative facts are supervenient on positive facts, suggesting they are positive facts
8. Modes of Existence / A. Relations / 4. Formal Relations / a. Types of relation
Nothing is genuinely related to itself
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 1. Nature of Properties
All instances of some property are strictly identical
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 6. Categorical Properties
Armstrong holds that all basic properties are categorical [Ellis]
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 7. Against Powers
Actualism means that ontology cannot contain what is merely physically possible
Dispositions exist, but their truth-makers are actual or categorical properties
If everything is powers there is a vicious regress, as powers are defined by more powers
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 1. Universals
Universals are just the repeatable features of a world
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 2. Need for Universals
Realist regularity theories of laws need universals, to pick out the same phenomena
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 3. Instantiated Universals
Universals are abstractions from states of affairs
Past, present and future must be equally real if universals are instantiated
Universals are abstractions from their particular instances [Lewis]
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 4. Individuation / b. Individuation by properties
It is likely that particulars can be individuated by unique conjunctions of properties
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 5. Self-Identity
The identity of a thing with itself can be ruled out as a pseudo-property
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 5. Contingency
The necessary/contingent distinction may need to recognise possibilities as real
14. Science / C. Induction / 3. Limits of Induction
Induction aims at 'all Fs', but abduction aims at hidden or theoretical entities
14. Science / C. Induction / 5. Paradoxes of Induction / a. Grue problem
Science suggests that the predicate 'grue' is not a genuine single universal
Unlike 'green', the 'grue' predicate involves a time and a change
14. Science / C. Induction / 5. Paradoxes of Induction / b. Raven paradox
The raven paradox has three disjuncts, confirmed by confirming any one of them
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / a. Types of explanation
A good reason for something (the smoke) is not an explanation of it (the fire)
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / e. Lawlike explanations
To explain observations by a regular law is to explain the observations by the observations
14. Science / D. Explanation / 3. Best Explanation / a. Best explanation
Best explanations explain the most by means of the least
18. Thought / E. Abstraction / 1. Abstract Thought
Each subject has an appropriate level of abstraction
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 6. Early Matter Theories / g. The One
We can't deduce the phenomena from the One
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 2. Types of cause
Absences might be effects, but surely not causes?
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 1. Laws of Nature
Science depends on laws of nature to study unobserved times and spaces
A universe couldn't consist of mere laws
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 2. Types of Laws
Oaken conditional laws, Iron universal laws, and Steel necessary laws [PG]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 3. Laws and Generalities
Newton's First Law refers to bodies not acted upon by a force, but there may be no such body
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 4. Regularities / a. Regularity theory
Regularities are lawful if a second-order universal unites two first-order universals [Lewis]
A naive regularity view says if it never occurs then it is impossible
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 5. Laws from Universals
Rather than take necessitation between universals as primitive, just make laws primitive [Maudlin]
Armstrong has an unclear notion of contingent necessitation, which can't necessitate anything [Bird]
The laws of nature link properties with properties