Laws in Nature: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Laws in Nature

1st Edition

By Stephen Mumford


248 pages

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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

Table of Contents

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

About the Author

Stephen Mumford is Reader in Metaphysics in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Nottingham. He is the author of Dispositions (1998) and various papers in metaphysics. He is editor of Russell on Metaphysics (2003) and Powers by the late George Molnar (2003).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Twentieth-Century Philosophy

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Metaphysics