Mumford outlines a major new theory of natural laws. His book begins with the question of whether there are any genuinely law-like phenomena in nature. The discussion addresses questions currently being debated by metaphysicians such as whether the laws of nature are necessary or contingent and whether a property can be identified independently of its causal role.
'Its boldness and thoroughness, combined with its readability, make this a book that anybody concerned with the metaphysics of laws will wish to read. They will be informed and stimulated by it.' - The Australasian Journal of Philosophy
'Mumford's book is an important contribution to metaphysics. If you disagree with [Mumford], you are bound to have a lot of serious work to do. This is metaphysics at its best.' - Brian Ellis, La Trobe University, Australia
'An important and original contribution to the growing literature in defence of powers.' – The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
1. Introduction: Laws in Science and Philosophy Part One: Humean Lawlessness 2. The Lawless World 3. Regularities and Best Systems 4. Hume's Argument Part Two: Nomological Realism 5. The Nomological Argument 6. Natural Necessitation Relations 7. Necessitarian Essentialism Part Three: Realist Lawlessness 8. Are Natural Laws a Natural Kind 9. The Central Dilemma 10. Modal Properties 11. Objections and Replies 12. Conclusion: Law and Metaphor