Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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Regularity Theory, philosophy: is an expression for the thesis that in reference to causality one can determine nothing more than the regularity of previous cases, which, however, can be extended to future cases. The main representative of regularity theory, D. Hume, formalizes the connection between cause and effect on relations between types of events rather than relations between individual events. See also causality, law of nature, effect, cause.

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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III 17
Naïve Regularity Theory/Armstrong: Target: distinguish cosmic uniformities against accidental ones - Problem: there are only uniformities, therefore all laws are only GF, so all GF are laws - KnealeVs: then it would be a law that there can be no white ravens (they would be physically impossible) - E.g. the fact that there is no lump of uranium 1 Km in diameter would not be a law, but there can be no unrealized physical possibilities (equally, there would be no lump of gold of that size) (for indistinguishable reasons). - Problem: because there are no centaurs, it would likewise be a law that they are smart and that they are stupid - no conceptual contradiction! - Regularity theory: does not recognize any relation between universals.
III 59
Regularity Theory/Armstrong: can infer only from observed to unobserved cases and has less available for that than we have: no laws! - If it logical possibility (E.g. 99% of the observed ... so...), then it cannot exclude E.g. grue - (same probability for grue and green) - in order to exclude grue, the regularity theory needs universals.
III 60
Refined regularity theory: 1) Epistemic Solution: Criteria for good/bad regularity: a) external, problem: cognitive attitude decides - internal: "objectivist": Skyrms: resilience, b) Ramsey-Lewis: criterion external for the individual GF, but internal for the class of regularity.

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.

AR II = Disp
D. M. Armstrong

Dispositions, Tim Crane, London New York 1996

D. Armstrong
What is a Law of Nature? Cambridge 1983

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2018-05-20