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Regularities, Natural Patterns and Laws of Nature

Psillos, Stathis (2014) Regularities, Natural Patterns and Laws of Nature. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 29 (1). pp. 9-27. ISSN 2171-679X

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The goal of this paper is to sketch an empiricist metaphysics of laws of nature. The key idea is that there are regularities without regularity-enforcers. Differently put, there are natural laws without law-makers of a distinct metaphysical kind. This sketch will rely on the concept of a natural pattern and more significantly on the existence of a network of natural patterns in nature. The relation between a regularity and a pattern will be analysed in terms of mereology. Here is the road map. In section 2, I will briefly discuss the relation between empiricism and metaphysics, aiming to show that an empiricist metaphysics is possible. In section 3, I will offer arguments against stronger metaphysical views of laws. Then, in section 4 I will motivate nomic objectivism. In section 5, I will address the question ‘what is a regularity?’ and will develop a novel answer to it, based on the notion of a natural pattern. In section 6, I will raise the question: ‘what is a law of nature?’, the answer to which will be: a law of nature is a regularity that is characterised by the unity of a natural pattern.

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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Additional Information: ISSN: 0495-4548 (print)
Keywords: Laws of nature; regularities; empiricism; metaphysics; pattern
Subjects: General Issues > Laws of Nature
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email
Date Deposited: 06 May 2014 11:24
Last Modified: 06 May 2014 11:24
Item ID: 10650
Journal or Publication Title: THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science
Publisher: Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco
Official URL:
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1387/theoria.8991
Subjects: General Issues > Laws of Nature
Date: January 2014
Page Range: pp. 9-27
Volume: 29
Number: 1
ISSN: 2171-679X

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