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Scientific Realism and Laws of Nature: A Metaphysics of Causal Powers

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  • © 2024


  • The only book to present a synthetic view of the main issues of scientific realism and metaphysics of science
  • The first book to offer a comprehensive view of nature of theories, scientific realism and metaphysics of laws
  • Of use to both academics and third year students in the field of philosophy and metaphysics of science

Part of the book series: Synthese Library (SYLI, volume 483)

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Table of contents (6 chapters)


About this book

This book addresses central issues in the philosophy and metaphysics of science, namely the nature of scientific theories, their partial truth, and the necessity of scientific laws within a moderate realist and empiricist perspective. Accordingly, good arguments in favour of the existence of unobservable entities postulated by our best theories, such as electrons, must be inductively grounded on perceptual experience and not their explanatory power as most defenders of scientific realism claim. Similarly, belief in the reality of dispositions such as causal powers which ground the natural necessity of scientific laws must be based on experience. Hence, this book offers a synthetic presentation of an original metaphysics of science, namely a metaphysics of properties, both categorical and dispositional, while at the same time opposing strong versions of necessitarism according to which laws are true in all possible worlds.
The main theses and arguments are clearly presentedin a non-technical way. Thus, on top of being of interest to the specialists of the topics discussed, it is also useful as a textbook in courses for third year and more advanced university students.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Institut supérieur de philosophie, Universite Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

    Michel Ghins

About the author

​Michel Ghins is professor emeritus at the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium). After a MSc in physics (Louvain) and a MA in philosophy (Pittsburgh) he did a PhD on the philosophical theories of space-time (Louvain). He taught history of science, philosophy of science and philosophy of nature in several Universities, among which the University of Campinas (Brazil), the Gregorian University (Rome) and the University of Turin. He has published several books and numerous articles in international journals on the foundations of space-time, scientific realism, models and representation, explanation, causality and the metaphysics of laws. He is currently working on a neo-Aristotelian metaphysics of causal powers. He is vice-president of the International Academy of Philosophy of Science.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Scientific Realism and Laws of Nature: A Metaphysics of Causal Powers

  • Authors: Michel Ghins

  • Series Title: Synthese Library

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Religion and Philosophy, Philosophy and Religion (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2024

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-031-54226-8Published: 05 April 2024

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-031-54229-9Due: 09 May 2024

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-54227-5Published: 04 April 2024

  • Series ISSN: 0166-6991

  • Series E-ISSN: 2542-8292

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XVIII, 211

  • Number of Illustrations: 1 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Philosophy of Science, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Nature, Epistemology, Ontology

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