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.
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