From Arbuthnot to Boltzmann: The Past-hypothesis, Special Sciences and the Best System

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Frisch, Mathias
conference paper description
In recent work on the foundations of statistical mechanics and the arrow of time, Barry Loewer and David Albert have developed a view that defends both a Best System account of laws and a physicalist fundamentalism. In this paper I argue that there exists a tension between their account of laws, which emphasizes the pragmatic element in assessing the relative strength of different deductive systems, and their reductivism or fundamentalism. If we take the pragmatic dimension in their account seriously, then the laws of the special sciences should be part of the best system as well.