There is no distinctively semantic circularity objection to humean laws

David Mark Kovacs*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Humeans identify the laws of nature with universal generalizations that systematize rather than govern the particular matters of fact. Humeanism is frequently accused of circularity: laws explain their instances, but Humean laws are, in turn, grounded by those instances. Unfortunately, this argument trades on controversial assumptions about grounding and explanation that Humeans routinely reject. However, recently an ostensibly semantic circularity objection has been offered, which seeks to avoid reading such assumptions into the Humean view. This paper argues that the new semantic version tacitly relies on the familiar metaphysical one and, therefore, it ultimately brings nothing new to the table.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-281
Number of pages12
JournalCanadian Journal of Philosophy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 6 May 2021


  • Best System Account
  • Circularity objection
  • Explanation
  • Grounding
  • Humeanism
  • Laws of Nature
  • Truthmaker semantics


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