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How to be a powers theorist about functional laws, conservation laws and symmetries

Kimpton-Nye, Samuel (2022) How to be a powers theorist about functional laws, conservation laws and symmetries. Philosophical Studies. ISSN 0031-8116

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Abstract

This paper defends an account of the laws of nature in terms of irreducibly modal properties (aka powers) from the threat posed by functional laws, conservation laws and symmetries. It thus shows how powers theorists can avoid ad hoc explanations and resist an inflated ontology of powers and governing laws. The key is to understand laws not as flowing from the essences of powers, as per Bird (2007), but as features of a description of how powers are possibly distributed, as per Demarest (2017), Kimpton-Nye (2017, 2021) and Williams (2019); call this the Powers-BSA. This underappreciated powers-based account of laws is continuous with actual scientific practice and thereby quite naturally accommodates functional laws, conservation laws and symmetries. This paper thus positions the Powers-BSA as the leading anti-Humean account of the relationship between laws and properties.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Kimpton-Nye, Samuelsamuel.kimpton-nye@bristol.ac.uk0000-0001-9774-7247
Keywords: Conservation Laws; Functional Laws; Powers; Symmetries; Explanation
Subjects: General Issues > Laws of Nature
Depositing User: Dr Samuel Kimpton-Nye
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2022 14:21
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2022 14:21
Item ID: 21500
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophical Studies
Publisher: Springer (Springer Science+Business Media B.V.)
Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11098-0...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-022-01903-5
Subjects: General Issues > Laws of Nature
Date: 30 November 2022
ISSN: 0031-8116
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/21500

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