The Law-Governed Universe by John T. RobertsThe Law-Governed Universe by John T. Roberts

The Law-Governed Universe

byJohn T. Roberts

Paperback | August 28, 2012

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 238 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


Ships within 1-3 weeks

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


John T. Roberts presents and defends a radically new theory of laws of nature, the Measurability Account. Though consistent with a Humean ontology, Roberts's theory differs sharply from the most influential Humean theory of laws, David Lewis's Best-System Analysis. Unlike other Humeantheories, the Measurability Account affirms that there is an important sense in which the laws govern the universe, rather than simply describing it economically. Yet unlike non-Humean theories, it requires only minimal metaphysical commitments. In this way, it combines the advantages of Humean and non-Humean approaches to laws, while avoiding the pitfalls of each. At the heart of the Measurability Account are two new ideas: that lawhood is not a property offacts but rather a role that a proposition can play within a scientific theory, and that what is essential to laws is that they guarantee the reliability of methods of measuring natural quantities. On the basis of these ideas, Roberts argues that we can offer an informative and compellingexplanation of why laws have the peculiar counterfactual resilience that sets them apart from accidental uniformities.
John T. Roberts is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He received his BS in Physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology and his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh. His research focuses on the intersection of philosophy of science and metaphysics.
Title:The Law-Governed UniverseFormat:PaperbackDimensions:420 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0 inPublished:August 28, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199655936

ISBN - 13:9780199655939


Table of Contents

1. The law-governed world-picture2. In defense of some received views3. The meta-theoretic conception of laws4. An epistemological argument for the meta-theoretic conception of laws5. Laws, governing, and counterfactuals6. When would the laws have been different?7. How could science show that the laws govern?8. Measurement and counterfactuals9. What lawhood is10. Beyond Humean and Non-HumeanAppendix: The MAL in action: A few examples of scientific theories and their laws

Editorial Reviews

Review from previous edition: "an important book that deserves serious consideration by metaphysicians and philosophers of science alike." --The Philosophical Quarterly