On the metaphysical contingency of laws of nature
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In John Hawthorne & Tamar Gendler (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. 309--336 (2002)
This paper defends the traditional view that the laws 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 laws to be necessary (at least, understood metaphysically, as opposed to semantically)--showing how laws 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|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Xunwu Chen (2011). Crisis and Possibility: The Ethical Implication of Contingency. Asian Philosophy 21 (3):257 - 268.
Francis Oakley (2005). Natural Law, Laws of Nature, Natural Rights: Continuity and Discontinuity in the History of Ideas. Continuum.
Anjan Chakravartty (2003). The Dispositional Essentialist View of Properties and Laws. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 11 (4):393 – 413.
Cal Ledsham (2010). Love, Power and Consistency: Scotus' Doctrines of God's Power, Contingent Creation, Induction and Natural Law. Sophia 49 (4):557-575.
Chris Swoyer (1982). The Nature of Natural Laws. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 60 (3):203 – 223.
Stephen Mumford (2005). Laws and Lawlessness. Synthese 144 (3):397?413.
Alice Drewery (2005). Essentialism and the Necessity of the Laws of Nature. Synthese 144 (3):381-396.
John Roberts (2010). Some Laws of Nature Are Metaphysically Contingent. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (3):445-457.
Jeffrey K. McDonough (2010). Leibniz's Optics and Contingency in Nature. Perspectives on Science 18 (4):432-455.
Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.
Added to index2009-06-22
Total downloads1 ( #467,071 of 1,140,133 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #147,976 of 1,140,133 )
How can I increase my downloads?