Read through the whole article on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_law), but I can't find anything about why it was called a law when it is described as a prediction or an observation. Is it an incorrect usage of the word, can we claim something to be a law just for the heck of it in philosophy? I am thinking this is in the realm of philosophy since it cannot be considered to be computer science to ponder about the raison-d'etre of a terminology or its justification. Can we call any speculative observation to be a law, or is there some kind of rule to this madness?

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    An empirical law is a stable regularity observed in the behavior of something, which this is for the number of transistors. It doesn't have to be a law of nature grounded in fundamental physics, etc. This is a standard use of the word, see Titius–Bode law, Benford's law, or even semi-humorous Murphy's law. – Conifold Feb 17 at 0:17
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    Empirical Law: "a law induced from observation or experiment, and though valid for the particular instances observed, not to be relied on beyond the conditions on which it rests". – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Feb 17 at 8:46
  • Also Boyle's law, when discovered, was "only" an empirical generalizations. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Feb 17 at 9:46

Per Conifold's comment, Moore's Law is an empirical law based on observation; it is not a physical law like Maxwell's equations or Einstein's law of general relativity or the Carnot efficiency of a thermodynamic process.

Moore's law was driven by two trends in the technology of integrated circuit manufacture: 1) that defect densities will go down as mastery of the technology is achieved, and 2) that feature sizes will decrease with advances in that technology.

These two things allow the manufacture of ever-larger chips without yield losses, with ever-denser transistor packing on each one. The net result of these two things is what was called "Moore's Law".

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  • Maxwell's equation and Einstein's law etc. are much more similar to Moore's than you make it seem: They are based on observations and gain their validity from observation. What you write sounds overly idealistic. Perhaps building in some sources would have helped to prevent this impression. – Philip Klöcking Feb 17 at 15:58

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