Heinz Heinzmann

On Induction and the Justification of Laws

Why do Laws of Nature exist?

Preliminary Note

Part Two has been devoted to the search for the laws of nature. The existence of such laws has been presupposed. Due to the success of natural sciences, this presupposition appears like a matter of course. Actually, however, here a fundamental philosophical problem is still waiting for its solution: the question, why nature behaves according to laws.

From where do these laws originate? Where do they exist? How is it that the General in the form of laws comes into nature?

As substantiation of the existence of natural laws, this chapter represents the completion of the physical part. Since the laws of nature, however, are creations or – if they are true – discoveries of our mind, it is at the same time the first step in carrying out the task of this Third Part: the elucidation of the relationship between mind and matter

The Problem

An apple is rolling toward the table edge.

What will happen when it rolls beyond? – It will fall down.
Why? – All objects fall down.
Why? – They obey a law of gravity.

All three claims appear undoubtedly correct. There is nothing of which we are more certain. Therefore, it seems all the more strange that our present knowledge about the relation between the Individual and the General does not provide any way to justify them completely!

Let's review the last two statements. The answer: "All objects fall down" is not appropriate to serve as substantiation for the certainty that the apple will fall down. All we know is that in all previous observations objects have fallen down. But the phrase "all previous observations," refers to a finite number of individual cases, and individual cases – no matter how many – cannot substantiate a universal statement of the form "all objects fall down".

proceed with pdf Main Page Philosophy