By Bruno Forte
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55). This assertion is reminiscent of the contextual view of laws. The diﬀerence is that Nagel thinks of it merely as a feature of our belief systems, whereas the contextualists, as we will see, take it to indicate something about the ontological relativism of scientiﬁc laws. How, then, can the Humean, according to Nagel, distinguish between accidental and nomic universality? An answer to this query prompts consideration (2). He should impose a number of logical and epistemic Introduction 25 requirements upon universal conditionals like having the form: for all x, if x is G, then x is H.
And the necessity operator is open to interpretation in each of the above senses of necessity. Which of these two statements, if any, does in fact reﬂect the nomic connection? Among the necessitarians there is little agreement about which of these interpretations gives us the correct understanding of laws of nature. The regularity view on laws came under heavy ﬁre in 1950s. William Kneale (1950) was one of the ﬁrst to directly attack the positivist view of laws as universally quantiﬁed material implications.
The necessity view Some philosophers ﬁnd the regularity view quite unsatisfactory, and this attitude often goes hand in hand with a strong metaphysical predilection. They believe that universal laws transcend experience; so an empirical analysis cannot provide a proper understanding of laws of nature. A metaphysical account is required. The positivists thought that a law of nature could be expressed in terms of a universal statement like ’All planets move in ellipses’. Although observation cannot prove such a claim since it is practically impossible to experience all planets in the universe, the expression says no more than what could in principle be observed if we had the power to scrutinise the entire cosmos.
A l'écoute de l'autre : Philosophie et Révélation by Bruno Forte