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Synthese Library

Laws and Explanations; Theories and Modal Possibilities

Authors: Koslow, Arnold

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  • Proposes several new theories concerning laws, explanation, physical theories, and modality
  • Shows that any contingent generalizations that is explained, is thereby not an accidental generalization
  • Explains how each physical theory is associated with a specific group of physical modal possibilities
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About this book

The book has two parts: In the first, after a review of some seminal classical accounts of laws and explanations, a new account is proposed for distinguishing between laws and accidental generalizations (LAG). Among the new consequences of this proposal it is proved that any explanation of a contingent generalization shows that the generalization is not accidental. The second part involves physical theories, their modality, and their explanatory power. In particular, it is shown that (1) Each theory has a theoretical implication structure associated with it, such that there are new physical modal operators on these structures and also special modal entities that are in these structures. A special subset of the physical modals, the nomic modals are associated with the laws of theories. (2) The familiar idea that theories always explain laws by deduction of them has to be seriously modified in light of the fact that there are a host of physical theories (including for example, Newtonian Classical mechanics, Hamiltonian, and Lagrangian theory, and probability theory) that we believe are schematic (they do not have any truth value). Nevertheless, we think that there is a kind of non-deductive explanation and generality that they achieve by subsumtion under a schema.

About the authors

Philosophy Website (gc.cuny.edu) Philosophy and History of Science, logic and philosophy of mathematics, Bayard Cutting Traveling Fellow (Columbia University, Stanford, Cambridge UK), Ford Foundation Fellow (King's College, Cambridge UK), NEH Fellow (Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center CUNY).

Reviews

“This book is filled with clever arguments and neat proofs, and the prose is replete with clear explanations that make for a relatively easy read. But its greatest strength lies in its ability to connect things that you would have thought had no connection.” (Chris Dorst, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, May 26, 2020)


Table of contents (12 chapters)

Table of contents (12 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $79.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-18846-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $99.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-18845-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Immediate ebook access, if available*, with your print order
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Laws and Explanations; Theories and Modal Possibilities
Authors
Series Title
Synthese Library
Series Volume
410
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-18846-7
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-18846-7
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-18845-0
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
IX, 185
Number of Illustrations
2 b/w illustrations
Topics

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