From constitutional necessities to causal necessities

In Helen Beebee & Nigel Sabbarton-Leary (eds.), The Semantics and Metaphysics of Natural Kinds. Routledge (2010)
Abstract
Humeans and non-Humeans reasonably agree that there may be necessary connections between entities that are identical or merely partly distinct—between, e.g., sets and their individual members, fusions and their individual parts, instances of determinates and determinables, members of certain natural kinds and certain of their intrinsic properties, and (especially among physicalists) certain physical and mental states. Humeans maintain, however, that as per “Hume’s Dictum”, there are no necessary connections between entities that are wholly distinct;1 and in particular, no necessary causal connections between such entities (even when the background conditions requisite for causation are in place). The Humean’s differential treatment appears principled, in reflecting that commonly accepted necessary connections involve constitutional relations, whereas wholly distinct entities (notably, causes and effects) do not constitute each other. I’ll argue, however, that the appearance of principle is not genuine, as per the following conditional: Constitutional→Causal: If one accepts certain constitutional necessities, one should accept certain causal necessities. This result provides needed leverage in assessing the two main frameworks in the metaphysics of science, treating natural kinds, causes, laws of nature, and the like. These frameworks differ primarily on whether Hume’s Dictum is taken as a working constraint on theorizing; and it has proved difficult for either side to criticize the other without presupposing their preferred stance on the dictum, hence talking past one another. The arguments for Constitutional→Causal are based, however, in general and independent considerations about what facts in the world might plausibly warrant our beliefs in certain constitutional necessities involving broadly scientific entities. The Humean can respond to these arguments, which reveal a deep tension in their view, at attendant costs of implausibilty and adhocery. The non-Humean framework doesn’t face any such tension between constitutional and causal necessities, however, and so in this respect comes out ahead.
Keywords necessary connections  Hume  Hume's Dictum  laws of nature
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,456
External links
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
Muhammad Ali Khalidi (2009). How Scientific is Scientific Essentialism? Journal for General Philosophy of Science 40 (1):85 - 101.
Brian Ellis (2000). Causal Laws and Singular Causation. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (2):329-351.
Louis deRosset (2009). Production and Necessity. Philosophical Review 118 (2):153-181.
Aisling Crean (2010). Humean Humility. Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy (Special Issue edited by Helen Beebee and Markus Schrenk) 13.
Jessica M. Wilson (2010). What is Hume's Dictum, and Why Believe It? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (3):595 - 637.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

80 ( #17,060 of 1,102,446 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

12 ( #16,427 of 1,102,446 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.