Philosophical Studies

, Volume 172, Issue 12, pp 3145–3165 | Cite as

Humean laws and explanation

  • Dan MarshallEmail author


A common objection to Humeanism about natural laws is that, given Humeanism, laws cannot help explain their instances, since, given the best Humean account of laws, facts about laws are explained by facts about their instances rather than vice versa. After rejecting a recent influential reply to this objection that appeals to the distinction between scientific and metaphysical explanation, I will argue that the objection fails by failing to distinguish between two types of facts, only one of which Humeans should regard as laws. I will then conclude by rebutting a variant of this objection that appeals to a principle of metaphysical explanation recently put forward by Kit Fine.


Humeanism Laws Explanation Grounding Kit Fine David Lewis 



Thanks goes to Alex Skiles, Shyam Nair, a referee for Philosophical Studies and an audience at the 2014 Australasian Association of Philosophy conference for helpful comments and discussion.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, Ho Sin Hang BuildingLingnan UniversityTuen MunHong Kong

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