On the metaphysical contingency of laws of nature

In John Hawthorne & Tamar Gendler (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press 309--336 (2002)
Abstract
This paper defends the traditional view that the <span class='Hi'>laws</span> of nature are contingent, or, if some of them are necessary, this is due to analytic principles for the individuation of the law-governed properties. Fundamentally, I argue that the supposed explanatory purposes served by taking the <span class='Hi'>laws</span> to be necessary (at least, understood metaphysically, as opposed to semantically)--showing how <span class='Hi'>laws</span> support counterfactuals, how properties are individuated, or how we have knowledge of properties--are in fact undermined by the continued possibility of the imagined scenarios--this time, described neutrally--which seemed to disprove the claim to necessity in the first place. I speculate that this will be true for any proposed necessary a posteriori truths, and is a basis for rejecting their supposed metaphysical significance.
Keywords Contingency, Metaphysics, Natural Law
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