What Humeans should say about tied best systems

Analysis 80 (2):273-282 (2019)
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Abstract

The Humean best systems account identifies laws of nature with the regularities in a system of truths that, as a whole, best conforms to scientific standards for theory-choice. A principled problem for the BSA is that it returns the wrong verdicts about laws in cases where multiple systems, containing different regularities, satisfy these standards equally well. This problem affects every version of the BSA because it arises regardless of which standards for theory-choice Humeans adopt. In this paper, we propose a Humean response to the problem. We invoke pragmatic aspects of Humean laws to show that the BSA, despite violating some of our intuitive judgements, can capture everything that is relevant for scientific practice.

Author Profiles

Christian Loew
Umeå University
Siegfried Jaag
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf

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