Dr. Jeffrey Koperski is Professor of Philosophy at Saginaw Valley State University, USA. His lecture is co-sponsored by The American Scientific Affiliation, West Michigan Chapter and the de Vries Institute for Global Faculty Development.
One cannot go far in physics without running into a law of nature, and any college student can point to examples in textbooks. That familiarity leaves a fundamental question unanswered, however: What precisely is a law of nature? Do the laws govern natural events? Or are laws nothing more than the equations themselves? In this talk, we consider the three main answers to these questions in the philosophy of science literature. In the end, I will argue that the early-modern natural philosophers who first introduced the idea were largely correct: The laws of nature are divine decrees.