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Abstract

Adam Elga has presented an anti-thermodynamic process as a counterexample to Lewis’s default semantics for counterfactuals. The outstanding reaction of Jonathan Schaffer and Boris Kment is revisionary. It sacrifices Lewis’s aim of defining causation in terms of counterfactual dependence. Lewis himself suggested an alternative: «counter-entropic funnybusiness» should make for dissimilarity. But how is this alternative to be spelled out? I discuss a recent proposal: include special science laws, among them the laws of thermodynamics. Although the proposal fails, it serves to uncover the limits of Elga’s example.

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state (I’ve actually done that) the most common answer is that it is a brain state. Although this view may not be entirely correct, it is in any case a view which relies on empirical evidence. The psychiatrist deals with a depression by pre- scribing certain drugs affecting the workings of certain neurotransmit- Book Reviews 425 ters; the neurologist deals with the Parkinson disease by prescribing drugs which try to restore the correct distribution of dopamine in the brain, and so on. As Jerry Fodor once made clear, typically when a special science law faces an