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Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia

Volume 12, Issue 2, Mayo 1997

Joan Pages
Pages 337-342

Armstrong on the Role of Laws in Counterfactual Supporting

Armstrong (1983) poses two requirements that law-statements must satisfy in order to support the corresponding counterfactuals. He also argues that law-statements can not satisfy one of these requirements if they merely express regularities, although both requirements are satisfied if law-statements are interpreted as expressing relations between universals. I try to show that Armstrong’s argument can be raised against Armstrong’s own solution by adding three premisses to it: the inference thesis, the contingency thesis and a principle whose rationality I also argue for. Finally, I offer a more reasonable alternative condition for nomic counterfactual supporting which is satisfied by law-statements if they are interpreted as expressing relations between universals, but not so if we interpret them as mere regularities.

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