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Metascience (2006) 15:437­469 DOI 10.1007/s11016-006-9043-z Ó Springer 2006 REVIEW SYMPOSIUM Stephen Mumford, Laws in Nature. Routledge Studies in Twentieth-Century Philosophy, Abingdon: Routledge, 2004. Pp. 248. £65.00 HB. By Brian Ellis Stephen MumfordÕs book Laws in Nature (LN) is an important contribution to metaphysics. It describes eloquently all of the main theories of laws of nature currently in vogue, and subjects them to rigorous examination. MumfordÕs critiques of the various positions are measured and challenging. If you disagree with him, you are bound to have a lot of serious work to do. This is metaphysics at its best. Mumford divides metaphysical theories about laws of nature into two main groups, those of the nomological realists and those of the nomological anti-realists. The nomological realists, he says, believe that the laws of nature exist, and have an indispensable role in determining the course of events. In some sense, which may be variously explicated, the laws of nature are said to ÔgovernÕ nature. The anti-realists, on the other hand, are said to deny that the laws of nature have any such role. If the laws exist (and they do not all agree on this), then they do so only in the



MetascienceSpringer Journals

Published: Dec 1, 2006

DOI: 10.1007/s11016-006-9043-z

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