•  397
    Humean laws, explanatory circularity, and the aim of scientific explanation
    Philosophical Studies 176 (10): 2657-2679. 2019.
    One of the main challenges confronting Humean accounts of natural law is that Humean laws appear to be unable to play the explanatory role of laws in scientific practice. The worry is roughly that if the laws are just regularities in the particular matters of fact (as the Humean would have it), then they cannot also explain the particular matters of fact, on pain of circularity. Loewer (2012) has defended Humeanism, arguing that this worry only arises if we fail to distinguish between scientific…Read more
  •  220
    Given the laws of our universe, the initial conditions and cosmological constants had to be "fine-tuned" to result in life. Is this evidence for design? We argue that we should be uncertain whether an ideal agent would take it to be so—but that given such uncertainty, we should react to fine-tuning by boosting our confidence in design. The degree to which we should do so depends on our credences in controversial metaphysical issues.
  •  115
    Towards a Best Predictive System Account of Laws of Nature
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3): 877-900. 2019.
    This article argues for a revised best system account of laws of nature. David Lewis’s original BSA has two main elements. On the one hand, there is the Humean base, which is the totality of particular matters of fact that obtain in the history of the universe. On the other hand, there is what I call the ‘nomic formula’, which is a particular operation that gets applied to the Humean base in order to output the laws of nature. My revised account focuses on this latter element of the view. Lewis …Read more
  •  42
    Bet Accepted: A Reply to Freitag
    Philosophical Quarterly 68 (270): 175-183. 2018.
    Wolfgang Freitag claims to have developed a proposal that solves Goodman's famous New Riddle of Induction. His proposal makes use of the notion of ‘derivative defeat’; the claim is that in certain circumstances, the projection of some predicates is derivatively defeated, i.e., it is inductively invalid. Freitag develops the proposal using some compelling examples, and then shows that it likewise applies to the argument at the basis of the New Riddle. There, he alleges, the projection of ‘grue’ i…Read more
  •  40
    Why do the Laws Support Counterfactuals?
    Erkenntnis 1-22. forthcoming.
    This paper aims to explain why the laws of nature are held fixed in counterfactual reasoning. I begin by highlighting three salient features of counterfactual reasoning: it is conservative, nomically guided, and it uses hindsight. I then present a rationale for our engagement in counterfactual reasoning that aims to make sense of these features. In particular, I argue that counterfactual reasoning helps us evaluate the evidential relations between unanticipated pieces of evidence and various hyp…Read more
  •  36
    In a recent paper in this journal, Schramm presents what he takes to be an answer to Goodman’s New Riddle of Induction. His solution relies on the technical notion of evidential significance, which is meant to distinguish two ways that evidence may bear on a hypothesis: either via support or confirmation. As he puts his view in slogan form: “confirmation is support by significant evidence”. Once we make this distinction, Schramm claims, we see that Goodman’s famous riddle is dissolved, and we ar…Read more