More on nature, laws and such...

4 It seems when looking for "laws" to help in defining nature and life that this is probably not the wisest thing to do, as the mere concept of "laws" still have some wrinkles to iron out. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, three issues are especially pressing ones.

The first concerns whether laws “govern” the universe, exactly what it means to say that they do, and how that affects our understanding of lawhood.

The second is the issue of whether there are any contingent laws of nature. Necessitarians continue to work feverishly on filling in their view, while Humeans and others pay relatively little attention to what they are up to; new work needs to explain the source of the underlying commitments that divide these camps and to figure what each group is doing right.

Finally, more attention needs to be paid to the language used to report what are the laws and the language used to express the laws themselves.

It is clear that recent disputes about generalizations in physics and the special sciences turn on precisely these matters, but exploring them may also pay dividends on central matters regarding ontology, realism vs. antirealism, and supervenience.


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