The Software of the Universe introduces the history and philosophy of the concept of 'laws of nature' addressing both philosophers and scientists with an interest in the methodological and philosophical issues raised by their disciplines. The book reconstructs the main stages of the historical development of the idea of laws of nature and claims that an explanation of the mysterious effectiveness of mathematics in the description of the empirical world is also a key to understanding the nature of laws and their function in our knowledge. The role played by laws in scientific theories and practice is analysed and related to the idea of structural realism, while the centrality of the notion of dispositional properties, regarded as the truth-makers of scientific laws, is also defended in the context of the softer sciences such as psychology and sociology. Dorato shows that since all physical laws are valid ceteris paribus, the concept of law has universal applicability in all the empirical sciences. This book is a clear and well-written guide to the philosophy of laws of nature and offers a critical survey of the main positions debated in the current literature on the nature of 'laws of nature'.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; The origin of the idea of 'law of nature'; Why are laws of nature mathematical?; The reducibility of the laws of nature; What is a law of nature? Laws and the special sciences; Bibliography; Index.
'In sum, the book touches many interesting topics, some of which have seldom been covered by other works on laws. In this respect, Dorato certainly fills a gap in the discussion and I recommend the book to everyone working on laws who wishes to inquire into these issues”the history of the concept and the mathematical structure of laws”and look for a thought provoking starting point.' British Journal for the Philosophy of Science