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A theory of laws of nature, dispositions, and chances

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TitleInfo
Title
A theory of laws of nature, dispositions, and chances
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Demarest
NamePart (type = given)
Heather
NamePart (type = date)
1981-
DisplayForm
Heather Demarest
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
author
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NamePart (type = family)
Loewer
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Barry
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Barry Loewer
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Advisory Committee
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chair
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Schaffer
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Jonathan
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Jonathan Schaffer
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Advisory Committee
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
internal member
Name (type = personal)
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Fitelson
NamePart (type = given)
Branden
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Branden Fitelson
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Advisory Committee
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internal member
Name (type = personal)
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Ismael
NamePart (type = given)
Jenann
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Jenann Ismael
Affiliation
Advisory Committee
Role
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outside member
Name (type = corporate)
NamePart
Rutgers University
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
degree grantor
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NamePart
Graduate School - New Brunswick
Role
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school
TypeOfResource
Text
Genre (authority = marcgt)
theses
OriginInfo
DateCreated (qualifier = exact)
2013
DateOther (qualifier = exact); (type = degree)
2013-10
Place
PlaceTerm (type = code)
xx
Language
LanguageTerm (authority = ISO639-2b); (type = code)
eng
Abstract (type = abstract)
What are the fundamental properties of the world? What is chance? What are the laws of nature? These questions may seem isolated, but in my dissertation, A Theory of Laws, Dispositions, and Chances, I show how they are connected by developing a new account that unifies traditionally disparate elements. I defend the anti-Humean claim that there are some fundamental, modal features in the world—such as chance and dispositional properties. But, I also defend the Humean claim that the laws of nature merely describe the world, rather than govern it. According to my view, which I call the Propensity Best System Account (PBSA), some of the fundamental properties are dispositional—these properties are called potencies if they are deterministic, and propensities if they are chancy. And the laws of nature systematize all of the possible distributions of those properties. The PBSA provides a new way of interpreting a probability measure over all of the possible initial states of the universe: as a fundamental chance that grounds all subsequent chances. I argue that the PBSA accords well with scientific practice. Laws that systematize the distribution of properties suit the importance scientists place on simplicity and informativeness when they describe the regularities in the world. Potencies and propensities, which are necessarily connected to the behavior of the entities that instantiate them, are faithful to the scientific principle that the best way to learn about a system is by studying its characteristic behavior in different (stimulus) conditions. The PBSA avoids many of the serious objections that face traditional, best system accounts of the laws of nature and chance. For instance, the PBSA yields the right results for the laws of nature in both simple worlds and in improbable worlds. I argue that the PBSA is a promising theory of chance whether the dynamical laws of nature are deterministic or probabilistic and it can be formulated for consistency with classical mechanics or for consistency with quantum mechanics.
Subject (authority = RUETD)
Topic
Philosophy
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TitleInfo
Title
Rutgers University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
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ETD
Identifier
ETD_4842
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electronic resource
InternetMediaType
application/pdf
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text/xml
Extent
viii, 92 p. : ill.
Note (type = degree)
Ph.D.
Note (type = bibliography)
Includes bibliographical references
Note (type = statement of responsibility)
by Heather Demarest
Subject (authority = ETD-LCSH)
Topic
Universals (Philosophy)
Subject (authority = ETD-LCSH)
Topic
Whole and parts (Philosophy)
Subject (authority = ETD-LCSH)
Topic
Philosophy of nature
RelatedItem (type = host)
TitleInfo
Title
Graduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Identifier (type = local)
rucore19991600001
Location
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NjNbRU
Identifier (type = doi)
doi:10.7282/T3TQ5ZKW
Genre (authority = ExL-Esploro)
ETD doctoral
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Rights

RightsDeclaration (ID = rulibRdec0006)
The author owns the copyright to this work.
RightsHolder (type = personal)
Name
FamilyName
Demarest
GivenName
Heather
Role
Copyright Holder
RightsEvent
Type
Permission or license
DateTime (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact); (point = start)
2013-05-10 11:14:43
AssociatedEntity
Name
Heather Demarest
Role
Copyright holder
Affiliation
Rutgers University. Graduate School - New Brunswick
AssociatedObject
Type
License
Name
Author Agreement License
Detail
I hereby grant to the Rutgers University Libraries and to my school the non-exclusive right to archive, reproduce and distribute my thesis or dissertation, in whole or in part, and/or my abstract, in whole or in part, in and from an electronic format, subject to the release date subsequently stipulated in this submittal form and approved by my school. I represent and stipulate that the thesis or dissertation and its abstract are my original work, that they do not infringe or violate any rights of others, and that I make these grants as the sole owner of the rights to my thesis or dissertation and its abstract. I represent that I have obtained written permissions, when necessary, from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis or dissertation and will supply copies of such upon request by my school. I acknowledge that RU ETD and my school will not distribute my thesis or dissertation or its abstract if, in their reasonable judgment, they believe all such rights have not been secured. I acknowledge that I retain ownership rights to the copyright of my work. I also retain the right to use all or part of this thesis or dissertation in future works, such as articles or books.
Copyright
Status
Copyright protected
Availability
Status
Open
Reason
Permission or license
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Technical

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ETD
OperatingSystem (VERSION = 5.1)
windows xp
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