Laws of Nature

ISBN : 9780198746775

Walter Ott ; Lydia Patton
272 ページ
156 x 234 mm

What is the origin of the concept of a law of nature? How much does it owe to theology and metaphysics? To what extent do the laws of nature permit contingency? Are there exceptions to the laws of nature? Is it possible to give a reductive analysis of lawhood, or is it a primitive?

Twelve brand-new essays by an international team of leading philosophers take up these and other central questions on the laws of nature, whilst also examining some of the most important intuitions and assumptions that have guided the debate over laws of nature since the concept's invention in the seventeenth century.

Laws of Nature spans the history of philosophy and of science, contemporary metaphysics, and contemporary philosophy of science.


1 Walter Ott and Lydia Patton: Intuitions and Assumptions in the Debate over Laws of Nature
2 Helen Hattab: Early Modern Roots of the Philosophical Concept of a Law of Nature
3 Mary Domski: Laws of Nature and the Divine Order of Things: Descartes and Newton on Truth in Natural Philosophy
4 Walter Ott: Leges sive natura: Bacon, Spinoza, and a Forgotten Concept of Law
5 Stathis Psillos: Laws and Powers in the Frame of Nature
6 Angela Breitenbach: Laws and Ideal Unity
7 John W. Carroll: Becoming Humean
8 Michela Massimi: A Perspectivalist Better Best System Account of Lawhood
9 James Woodward: Laws: An Invariance Based Account
10 Marc Lange: How the Explanations of Natural Laws Make Some Reducible Physical Properties Natural and Explanatorily Powerful
11 Stephen Mumford: Laws and their Exceptions
12 Nancy Cartwright and Pedro Merlussi: Are laws of nature consistent with contingency?


Walter Ott is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Descartes, Malebranche, and the Crisis of Perception (Oxford, 2017), Causation and Laws of Nature in Early Modern Philosophy (Oxford) and Locke's Philosophy of Language (Cambridge). His work has appeared in such journals as the Archiv fur Geschichte der Philosophie and Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.; Lydia Patton is an Associate Professor at Virginia Tech. She edited Philosophy, Science, and History: A Guide and Reader (Routledge), and co-edited, with Benjamin Jantzen and Deborah Mayo, the issue Ontology and Methodology (Synthese). Her work has appeared in Synthese, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, Kant-Studien, and Historia Mathematica, among others, and in The Oxford Handbook of German Philosophy in the Nineteenth Century. In 2017, she will become editor-in-chief of HOPOS.