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A Theory of Non-Universal Laws

Reutlinger, Alexander (2011) A Theory of Non-Universal Laws. [Published Article or Volume]

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Laws in the special sciences are usually regarded to be non-universal. A theory of laws in the special sciences faces two challenges: (I) According to Lange’s dilemma, laws in the special sciences are either false or trivially true; (II) they have to meet the Requirement of Relevance, which a way to require the non-accidentality of special science laws. I argue that both challenges can be meet, if one distinguishes four dimensions of (non-)universality. The upshot is that I argue for the following explication of special science laws: L is a special science law iff (1) L is a system law, (2) L is quasi-Newtonian, and (3) L is minimally invariant.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Keywords: ceteris paribus laws, laws of nature, universality, quasi-Newtonian laws, invariance
Subjects: General Issues > Laws of Nature
Depositing User: Alexander Reutlinger
Date Deposited: 29 Feb 2012 13:45
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:45
Item ID: 9035
Journal or Publication Title: International Studies in the Philosophy of Science
Official URL:

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