, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 17–31

Initial Conditions and the ‘Open Systems’ Argument against Laws of Nature

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s12133-007-0019-2

Cite this article as:
Ballinger, C. Int Ontology Metaphysics (2008) 9: 17. doi:10.1007/s12133-007-0019-2


This article attacks ‘open systems’ arguments that because constant conjunctions are not generally observed in the real world of open systems we should be highly skeptical that universal laws exist. This work differs from other critiques of open system arguments against laws of nature by not focusing on laws themselves, but rather on the inference from open systems. We argue that open system arguments fail for two related reasons: 1) because they cannot account for the ‘systems’ central to their argument (nor the implied systems labeled ‘exogenous factors’ in relation to the system of interest) and 2) they are nomocentric, fixated on laws while ignoring initial and antecedent conditions that are able to account for systems and exogenous factors within a fundamentalist framework.


Initial conditions Laws of nature Open systems Cartwright Quantum Decoherence 

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.San FranciscoUSA

Personalised recommendations