Laws, counterfactuals, stability, and degrees of lawhood

Philosophy of Science 66 (2):243-267 (1999)
I identify the special sort of stability (invariance, resilience, etc.) that distinguishes laws from accidental truths. Although an accident can have a certain invariance under counterfactual suppositions, there is no continuum between laws and accidents here; a law's invariance is different in kind, not in degree, from an accident's. (In particular, a law's range of invariance is not "broader"--at least in the most straightforward sense.) The stability distinctive of the laws is used to explicate what it would mean for there to be multiple grades (or degrees) of physical necessity. Whether there are is for science to discover.
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DOI 10.1086/392686
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Marc Lange (2007). Laws and Meta-Laws of Nature: Conservation Laws and Symmetries. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 38 (3):457-481.
Daniel Nolan (2011). The Extent of Metaphysical Necessity. Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):313-339.
Boris Kment (2006). Counterfactuals and the Analysis of Necessity. Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1):237–302.
Jani Raerinne (2013). Stability and Lawlikeness. Biology and Philosophy 28 (5):833-851.

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