The Dennes Room

Event Detail

Wed Oct 4, 2017
234 Moses Hall, 6–7:30 PM
Working Group in the History and Philosophy of Logic, Mathematics, and Science
Barry Loewer (Rutgers University)
Perfectly Natural Properties and the Best System Accounts of Laws

David Lewis’ Best System account of fundamental laws requires there to be a preferred language relative to which the Best System (BS) is formulated. He proposes that the basic terms in this language (in addition to mathematical and logical terms) refer to what he calls “perfectly natural quantities.” Bas van Frassen objected that “perfectly natural properties” inolve a metaphysical posit that disconnects the Best System account from scientific practice and leads to an unwelcome skepticism about laws. In my talk I develop an alternative version of the BS account that avoids this objection and interestingly is neutral between Humean and non-Humean accounts of laws.