Philosophy Colloquium
Max Bialek
University of Maryland
A New Best System Analysis for Fundamental and Special Science Laws

Cohen and Callender's (2009, 2010) Better Best System (BBS) analysis of laws of nature is fashioned to accommodate laws in the special sciences by allowing for any set of kinds to be adopted as basic prior to the determination of the laws. Thus, for example, setting biological kinds as basic will yield biological laws as the output of the best system competition. I will argue in this talk that the BBS suffers from two significant problems: (1) it is unable to single out a set of laws as fundamental, and (2) it cannot accommodate cases of interfield interactions that muddy the boundary between the basic kinds of individual fields (e.g. photon talk in biology). I then propose a new Best System style view and argue for its ability to account for special science laws, fundamental laws, and cases of interfield interactions.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Taliaferro 1103