Workshop on Laws of Nature, Munich, 17 December 2012

Organized by the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP), LMU München, in Cooperation with the Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS), TU München.

Technische Universität München, Arcisstr. 21, Room 1229

According to the Mill-Ramsey-Lewis conception of laws of nature, the laws supervene on the “Humean mosaic” of non-modal particular matters of fact: the laws are the axioms of the deductive system that best combines simplicity and strength. This workshop explores recent developments in Best-System-accounts of laws.

Is the notion of a “best system” an essentially pragmatic notion? Should we think of science as providing us with a single best system, that has the fundamental laws of physics as its axioms or as providing us with multiple best systems, corresponding to different domains and scientific disciplines? Are Best-System-accounts, and Humean accounts of laws more generally, metaphysically too”‘thin” to capture the explanatory role of laws?


9:00 – 9:15 Welcome

9:30 – 10:30 Helen Beebee (University of Birmingham): “Ramsey vs. Lewis on conditionals and causation”

10:45 – 11:45 Carl Hoefer (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona): “Pragmatic Humeanism, Consistency and the Principal Principle

12:00 – 13:00 Mathias Frisch (University of Maryland, College Park): “Why Physics Can’t Explain Everything”

14:30 – 15:30 Markus Schrenk (Universität Köln): “Trouble with Properties for Better Best Systems”

5:45 – 16:45 Craig Callender (University of California, San Diego): “New Developments of the Systems Theory of Laws”

16:45 – 17:30 Discussion

Organized by Mathias Frisch.

For further information please contact mfrisch [at] umd [dot] edu. Attendance is free. Further info here:


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