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Title: Humean metaphysics and the philosophy of science
Author: Duguid, Callum James
ISNI:       0000 0004 6423 6485
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2017
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Humeanism is often taken to be a prime example of metaphysics which has failed to be sufficient attention to contemporary science. I argue that these claims have been made too hastily: there are moves available to Humeans which bring the account closer to scientific practice while still preserving the spirit of the view. The thesis comprises two parts. In the first half, I deal with the Best System Account of laws, and consider how it ought to treat initial conditions. From there, I turn to the question of whether Humean laws can explain events. This has recently been a topic of renewed interest in the literature and I disentangle the various claims philosophers have made on behalf of Humeanism. From these, I identify three promising responses to the argument that Humean explanations are circular. In the second half of the thesis, I consider how the Humean approach to laws can be extended to cover symmetry principles when the latter are understood as laws of laws. In response to a problem concerning properties and language, I suggest that the account go language-relative. The result of this is a regularity-based approach that can incorporate both laws and their symmetries into a single unified framework. Finally, I draw upon some examples from biology to indicate how the account can deal with the special sciences.
Supervisor: French, Steven Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available