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Wilson's Laws and Other Worlds*

  • Robert M. Martin (a1)


I like the idea behind this book. It is an empiricist alternative to the powerful and influential contemporary rationalist position on scientific law, causality, and counterfactuals, associated with Chisholm and David Lewis, which “takes its inspiration from modal logic and set theory [and] involves … an assumption of non-truth-functional connectives to define unanalyzable natural necessities, or defines such connectives and such necessities in terms of an ontology of possible worlds”. Wilson's views, springing from Hume and Nelson Goodman, involve no unobservables such as natural necessities or possible worlds, but are based instead on good old Humean laws of constant conjunction. How lovely if Wilson could pull this off!



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1 Ibid., ix.

2 Ibid., 18.

3 Lewis, David, On the Plurality of Worlds (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986).

4 Wilson, , Laws, 20ff.

5 Ibid., 227.

6 Ibid., 265.

* Fred Wilson, Laws and Other Worlds (Dordrecht: D. Reidel Publishing Company, 1986), pp. 328, US $69.00. A metaphysics discussion group at Dalhousie read and talked about this book, and I thank the group's other members—Robert Bright, Kadri Vihvelin, and Terry Tomkow—for ideas I have used in here.

Wilson's Laws and Other Worlds*

  • Robert M. Martin (a1)


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