Humeanism without Humean Supervenience: A Projectivist Account of Laws and Possibilities
Ward (Barry)
Source: Philosophical Studies, Volume 107, Number 3, February 2002, pp. 191-218(28)
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

    Acceptance of Humean Supervenience1 and the reductive Humean analyses that entail it leads to a litany of inadequately explained conflicts with our intuitions regarding laws and possibilities. However, the non-reductive Humeanism developed here, on which law claims are understood as normative rather than fact stating, can accommodate those intuitions. Rational constraints on such norms provide a set of consistency relations that ground a semantics formulated in terms of factual-normative worlds, solving the Frege-Geach problem of construing unasserted contexts. This set of factual-normative worlds includes exactly the intuitive sets of nomologically possible worlds associated with each possible set of laws. The extension of the semantics to counterfactual and subjunctive conditionals is sketched. Potential objections involving subjectivity, mind-dependence, and non-factuality are discussed.

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