David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (4):533 – 548 (2005)
In this paper I argue that it is not a priori that all the laws of nature are contingent. I assume that the fundamental laws are contingent and show that some non-trivial, a posteriori, non-basic laws may nonetheless be necessary in the sense of having no counterinstances in any possible world. I consider a law LS (such as 'salt dissolves in water') that concerns a substance S. Kripke's arguments concerning constitution show that the existence of S requires that a certain deeper level law or variants thereof hold. At the same time, that law and its variants may each entail the truth of LS. Thus the existence of S entails LS. Consequently there is no world in which S exists and fails to obey LS. I consider the conditions concerning the fundamental laws that would make this phenomenon ubiquitous. I conclude with some consequences for metaphysics.
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References found in this work BETA
Nelson Goodman (1983). Fact, Fiction, and Forecast. Harvard University Press.
David K. Lewis (1973). Counterfactuals. Blackwell Publishers.
Saul A. Kripke (1980/1998). Naming and Necessity. Harvard University Press.
B. D. Ellis (2001). Scientific Essentialism. Cambridge University Press.
David Lewis (1986). Philosophical Papers Vol. II. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Nora Berenstain (2014). Necessary Laws and Chemical Kinds. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (4):631-647.
Luke Gelinas (2009). The Problem of Natural Evil I: General Theistic Replies. Philosophy Compass 4 (3):533-559.
Alexander Bird (2009). … And Then Again, He Might Not Be. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (3):517-521.
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