Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

Breadcrumb Navigation


Laws of Nature

Organized by the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP), LMU München, in cooperation with the Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS), TU  München.

According to the Mill-Ramsey-Lewis conception of laws of nature, the laws supervene on the "Humean mosaic" of non-modal particular matters of fact: the laws are the axioms of the deductive system that best combines simplicity and strength.  This workshop explores recent developments in Best-System-accounts of laws. 

  • Is the notion of a "best system" an essentially pragmatic notion? 
  • Should we think of science as providing us with a single best system, that has the fundamental laws of physics as its axioms or as providing us with multiple best systems, corresponding to different domains and scientific disciplines? 
  • Are Best-System-accounts, and Humean accounts of laws more generally, metaphysically too"‘thin" to capture the explanatory role of laws?


  • Helen Beebee (University of Birmingham)
  • Craig Callender (University of California, San Diego)
  • Michael Esfeld (Université de Lausanne)
  • Mathias Frisch (University of Maryland, College Park)
  • Carl Hoefer (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
  • Markus Schrenk (Universität Köln)


09:00 – 09:15   Welcome
09:15 – 10:15 Mathias Frisch Why Physics Can't Explain Everything
10:30 – 11:30 Carl Hoefer Pragmatic Humeanism, Consistency and the Principal Principle
11:45 – 12:45 Helen Beebee Ramsey vs. Lewis on conditionals and causation
12:45 – 14:00   Lunch
14:00 – 15:00 Michael Esfeld Humeanism and Dispositionalism in Quantum Physics
15:15 – 16:15 Markus Schrenk Trouble with Properties for Better Best Systems
16:30 – 17:30 Craig Callender Building a Better System
17:30 – 18:00   Discussion
19:30   Dinner at Vinorant Alter Hof


  • Mathias Frisch
  • Wolfgang Pietsch