The Genesis of The Concept of Physical Law

  title={The Genesis of The Concept of Physical Law},
  author={Edgar Zilsel and Diederick Raven and Wolfgang Krohn and Robert S. Cohen},
  journal={The Philosophical Review},
Investigation of physical laws is among the most important tasks of modern natural science. The naturalist observes recurrent associations of certain events or qualities. He is convinced that these regularities, observed in the past, will hold in the future as well, and he calls them “laws of nature”, especially if he has succeeded in expressing them by mathematical formulas. Knowledge of physical laws is of the greatest importance both to the theorist and to the engineer. Whoever knows a law… Expand
The origin and development of the concept of the ‘laws of nature’
The Idea of explaining natural phenomena by appealing to laws of nature is one that is thoroughly familiar to the modern mind. This idea does not perhaps appear quite as natural as it did a centuryExpand
The Preference of Models over Laws of Nature in Chemistry
Although the notion of God as the legislator of nature was already known in the Jewish-Christian tradition, the modern concept of laws of nature was established only in the seventeenth-centuryExpand
Theories of Scientific Method from Plato to Mach
MUCH pious lip-service has been paid to the idea that the history of science and the philosophy of science are integrally dependent on one another. Yet the marriage between the two disciplines,Expand
Two Concepts of Law of Nature
I argue that there are at least two concepts of law of nature worthy of philosophical interest: strong law and weak law . Strong laws are the laws in- vestigated by fundamental physics, while weakExpand
Physical Constants as Identifiers of Modern Universal Laws of Nature
It is argued that in modern algebraic-formulated science the ‘physical constant’ can be understood, for practical purposes, as an ‘identifier’ of a universal law of nature, which fulfills the same need for universality, stability, and fundamentality for increasing the epistemic value of a scientific theory. Expand
Creation, Contingency, and Early Modern Science: The Impact of Voluntarist Theology on Seventeenth-Century Natural Philosophy
Could God have made it true that 2 + 2 = 5? Was he bound to make the best of all possible worlds? Is he able at this moment to alter the course of nature, either in whole or in part? Questions likeExpand
Notes on the cultural significance of the sciences
Abstract‘Cultural’ in the title is intended to allude to the bearing of the sciences on humanity's general orientation in the world. Questions about this are distinguished from ones about theExpand
Conceptual and Historiographical Foundations—Natural Philosophy, Mixed Mathematics, Physico-mathematics, Method
This chapter examines a number of conceptual and historiographical issues which frame the entire project, and presents a model for how the increasingly competitive and turbulent culture of natural philosophizing worked in the era of Descartes. Expand
The rule of law: Natural, human, and divine.
It is argued that the acute philosophical awareness, in the early modern period, of the difficulties surrounding the law concept in the scientific context, and the various responses to these difficulties, are rooted in an earlier tradition of jurisprudential concerns over the concept of natural law in its legal sense. Expand
'Natures' and 'Laws': The making of the concept of law of nature - Robert Grosseteste (c. 1168-1253) and Roger Bacon (1214/1220-1292).
It is argued that in the process of making the concept of law of nature, forms and laws were coherently used in theories of natural causation and that such a combination can be found in the thirteenth century. Expand