Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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Regularity, philosophy: regularity. The expression is usually used in connection with considerations of causality. The question is whether the determination of regularities is sufficient for the formulation of laws of nature. Opponents of the regularity theory demand that, in addition to the observation of positive cases, a formal determination is made on cases that have not yet occurred. For this purpose, e.g. a counterfactual conditional is established. E.g. if A were the case, then B would be the case, assuming that case A did not (yet) occur. See also causation, law of nature, laws, counterfactual conditional, unreal conditional clauses, cause, effect, induction.

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Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

 
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II 198
Regularity: there is always an alternative regularity that could have fulfilled the same function if the whole process had only started differently.
II 224
Regularity/Lewis: rules of syntax and semantics are not even regularities.
II 234
Communication depends not only on truthfulness, but also on principles of usefulness and relevance. However, these regularities are not independent language conventions. They are by-products.
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V XI
Natural Laws/Lewis: at least they are regularities without exception. Not all regularities are laws, of course.
Def Natural Laws/Ramsey: Laws are those that enter into the truth systems (buy into) that are unsurpassed in severity and simplicity. This is enough for the Humean Supervenience.
Simplicity/Lewis: what is simple is certainly not contingent. And the regularities (or candidates for truth systems) are supervised on the arrangement of qualities.
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V XIII
Probability/Lewis: Probabilities are in play from the beginning.
If Ramsey says that laws are regularities that enter into the best systems, the question is: what kind of systems?
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V 70
Zeit/Lewis: in the life of ordinary people there is a regularity: For example, hair grows, relative to the external time.
Time traveller: no regularity at external time, but there is a way of assigning coordinates to his or her travel stages and only one, so that the regularities, as they correspond to his or her attribution, match with those normally assumed in relation to external time:
This is the personal time of the time traveler: for example his hair grows, etc. but it is not really time, it only plays the same role in his life as the role it plays in the life of a normal person. (functional, not operational).
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V 122
Law/natural law/Lewis: this is a kind of regularity theory of lawfulness, but a collective and selective one at the same time:
collective: because regularities do not acquire their status as a law from themselves, but through a system within which they are either axioms or theorems,
selective: because not every regularity is worthy of being called a law.
Laws should have at least the following characteristics (based on chance).
V 123
(1) Simplicity, rigour and their balance can only be determined in the light of competing hypotheses. But I don't want to make lawfulness dependent on the kind of access. Nevertheless, our laws would be different if our approach were different, at least in the sense that we can keep our standards fixed and ask what the laws would be like in counterfactual situations.
(2) With this approach, it is not possible to say whether certain generalisations are lawful, whether they are true or false, and whether the laws are the true lawful ones.
Three possibilities: something can be wrong, randomly true, or lawfully true.
(3) I do not say that the competing systems of truths must consist entirely of regularities. Nevertheless, the regularities in the best systems should be laws.
Laws: should not mention indiviuals, not even the Big Bang, but such laws should not be excluded a priori.
(4) Simplicity: in order to be able to compare them, we must not allow our theories to be simply formulated with particularly trivial terms.
V 124
This means that the theory must not make all properties the same!
Really simple systems may only be called those that integrate real natural characteristics as simply as possible. But then it is also useless to say that natural properties are those which occur in laws ((s) that would be circulatory).
(5) What about a regularity that occurs in some but not all systems? Three options:
1. it is not a law, (you can take the average)
2. it is a law (association),
3. It is uncertain whether it is a law.
Lewis pro 1, but I hope that nature is kind enough to show us the right system in the end.
I also hope that some systems are completely out of the question. Then it will not matter whether the standards themselves are unfounded.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.

LW I
D. Lewis
Die Identität von Körper und Geist Frankfurt 1989

LW II
D. Lewis
Konventionen Berlin 1975

LW IV
D. Lewis
Philosophical Papers Bd I New York Oxford 1983

LW V
D. Lewis
Philosophical Papers Bd II New York Oxford 1986

LwCl I
Cl. I. Lewis
Mind and the World Order: Outline of a Theory of Knowledge (Dover Books on Western Philosophy) 1991


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-12-11