Regularity Accounts of Laws

Laws of nature are true law-like generalisations. A law-like generalisation has universal scope, e.g. 'All iron is magnetic'.


An account, with reference to some of the problems, can be found in Hempel 1965a, pp 264-270.



Any statement of the form "All A are B" looks like a candidate for a general law. However, if A or B are grue-some predicates (see Goodman 1954) the statement may translate as "All apples in this box are red", which is not a law even if it is true. All the problems of the New Riddle of Induction apply here.

Vacuous Laws

"All A are B" is true if there are no As. But we want to have laws like "All bodies experiencing no net force are unaccelerated" while excluding "All unicorns can fly".
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Copyright David Chart 1998