Powerful Properties, Powerless Laws

In Jonathan D. Jacobs (ed.), Causal Powers. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. pp. 38-53 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX


I argue that the best scientific package is anti-Humean in its ontology, but Humean in its laws. This is because potencies and the best system account of laws complement each other surprisingly well. If there are potencies, then the BSA is the most plausible account of the laws of nature. Conversely, if the BSA is the correct theory of laws, then formulating the laws in terms of potencies rather than categorical properties avoids three serious objections: the mismatch objection, the impoverished worlds objection, and the metaphysical 'oomph' objection. I argue that combining anti-Humean properties with Humean laws into a Potency-Best System Account of Laws is a powerful and science-friendly account---something that people on both sides should be able to appreciate.

Author's Profile

Heather Demarest
University of Colorado, Boulder


Added to PP

358 (#41,117)

6 months
135 (#19,785)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?