Supervisors: professor Rein Vihalemm ja vanemteadur Piret Kuusk
Opponents: professor Joseph Rouse (Ph.D., Wesleyan University, CT, USA) ja professor Peeter Müürsepp (Ph.D., TTÜ)
Scientific laws or the so called laws of nature are usually regarded as descriptive, presenting regularities operating in nature, contrasting them to legal norms that are regarded as explicitly normative, prescribing social order. In this paper I defend the position that (mathematical) laws of nature are normative similarly to legal norms: they prescribe actions or end results of actions, states of art. I discern three different ways, each having two levels, in which laws of nature are normative. Firstly, conceptual normativity means prescriptions of how the world is to be thought or talked about. On the more general level, this means analyticity and clarity in treating the world and its properties, on the more concrete level - special scientific terms and visions that are transferred to common thinking e.g. through general education. Secondly, epistemic normativity means the standard of (exact) sciences for reaching certain knowledge. On the theoretical level, this means mathematicalness, on the practical level - experimental activity in laboratory, through which mathematics is connected to material reality. Thirdly, practical normativity means ways of how the world outside laboratory should be treated. On the narrower level, this means designing and producing apparatus and other artefacts based on the knowledge of special sciences, on the broader level - reshaping nature according to the scientific world picture. I surmise that normativity of mathematics and particularly of mathematically expressed orderliness stems from human need for certitude that he tries to achieve by rearranging nature so that she is orderly and that man would have control over her. Mathematics, mathematical laws and technology based on those enable numerically foresee the results of rearranging the world, and thus diminish randomness, and insecurity and uncertainty arising from it.