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Laws of Nature - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Laws of Nature

Walter Ott and Lydia Patton


The concept of a law of nature, while familiar, is deeply puzzling. Theorists such as Descartes think a divine being governs the universe according to the laws which follow from that being’s own nature. Newton detaches the concept from theology and is agnostic about the ontology underlying the laws of nature. Some later philosophers treat laws as summaries of events or tools for understanding and explanation, or identify the laws with principles and equations fundamental to scientific theories. In the first part of this volume, essays from leading historians of philosophy identify central ques ... More

Keywords: law, ceteris paribus clause, Descartes, Newton, Lewis

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780198746775
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198746775.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Walter Ott, editor
University of Virginia

Lydia Patton, editor
Virginia Tech