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The Simplicity of Physical Laws

Chen, Eddy Keming (2022) The Simplicity of Physical Laws. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Physical laws are strikingly simple, although there is no a priori reason they must be so. I propose that nomic realists of all types (Humeans and non-Humeans) should accept that simplicity is a fundamental epistemic guide for discovering and evaluating candidate physical laws. This principle of simplicity clarifies and solves several problems of nomic realism and simplicity. A consequence is that the often-cited epistemic advantage of Humeanism over non-Humeanism is exaggerated, undercutting an influential epistemological argument for Humeanism. Moreover, simplicity is shown to be more tightly connected to lawhood than to mere truth.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Chen, Eddy Kemingeddykemingchen@ucsd.edu0000-0001-5144-0952
Keywords: empirical equivalence, induction, underdetermination, determinism, strong determinism, primitivism, Humeanism, non-Humeanism, laws of nature, Bayesianism, comparative probability, expert principle
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Dr. Eddy Keming Chen
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2022 03:34
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2022 03:34
Item ID: 21271
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: 14 October 2022
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21271

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