Laws and Models in a Theory of Idealization

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Liu, Chuang
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In this paper, I first give a brief summary of a critique of the traditional theories of approximation and idealization; and after identifying one of the major roles of idealization as detaching component processes or systems from joints of nature, a detailed analysis is given of idealized laws -- which are discoverable and/or applicable -- in such processes and systems (i.e. idealized model systems). Then, arguments are given for the inclusion of dispositional properties in the class of admissible properties for laws; and such an inclusion turns out to be crucial to our understanding of the relation between idealized models and the laws they 'produce' or 'accommodate'. And then I argue that idealized laws so produced or accommodated in the models are either true simpliciter or only approximately true but not so because of the idealizations in question. Finally I compare my theory with some existing theories of laws of nature.