Regularity Comparativism about Mass in Newtonian Gravity

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Philosophy of Science, ISSN: 0031-8248, Vol: 84, Issue: 5, Page: 1226-1238

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Niels C. M. Martens
University of Chicago Press
Arts and Humanities
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article description
Comparativism—the view that mass ratios are not grounded in absolute masses—faces a challenge by Baker which suggests that absolute masses are empirically meaningful. Regularity comparativism uses a liberalized version of the Mill-Ramsey-Lewis Best Systems Account to have both the laws of Newtonian gravity and the absolute mass scale supervene on a comparativist Humean mosaic as a package deal. I discuss three objections to this view and conclude that it is untenable. The most severe problem is that once we have reduced away the absolute masses, there is nothing that stops us from also reducing the mass ratios.