Laws, Coincidences and Relations Between Universals
Cohen (L. Jonathan)
Source: Pettit, Sylvan & Norman - Metaphysics & Morality - Essays in Honour of J.J.C. Smart
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

  1. The problem is: how is the contrast between laws and coincidences possible?
  2. Michael Tooley, Fred Dretske and David Armstrong have proposed to resolve this problem by arguing that any statement of a natural law asserts a second-order relation between universals1.
  3. But this proposal fails because, if laws are second-order relations between universals2, coincidences must also be so.
  4. An epistemological approach is more fruitful than a semantical one here. It turns out that natural laws stand in relation to eliminative or variative induction in very much the same way as accidentally true generalisations stand in relation to enumerative induction.

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