Necessitarianism about Laws

Edited by Markus Schrenk (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
Assistant editor: Florian J. Boge (Bergische Universität Wuppertal)
About this topic
Summary Necessitarians about laws believe that natural laws govern the events in the world: what a law says must happen (or, what a law forbids can’t happen). This intuition might partially originate in our actual day-to-day experiences when we feel resistance against some of our actions. It might also have an inference to the best explanation at its heart: unless we assume some kind of nomological or metaphysical necessity in the world we cannot explain what a law of nature is.
Key works Orthodox necessitarian accounts are Armstrong's, Tooley's, Dretske's and Swoyer's: Armstrong 1983, Tooley 1997Dretske 1977Swoyer 1982. Necessity finds also its way into the analysis of laws within dispositional essentialist views: Bird 2007, Ellis 2001.
Introductions Psillos 2002
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179 found
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1 — 50 / 179
  1. Dispositions and the Principle of Least Action Revisited.Benjamin T. H. Smart & Karim P. Y. Thébault - 2015 - Analysis 75 (3):386-395.
    Some time ago, Joel Katzav and Brian Ellis debated the compatibility of dispositional essentialism with the principle of least action. Surprisingly, very little has been said on the matter since, even by the most naturalistically inclined metaphysicians. Here, we revisit the Katzav–Ellis arguments of 2004–05. We outline the two problems for the dispositionalist identified Katzav in his 2004 , and claim they are not as problematic for the dispositional essentialist at it first seems – but not for the reasons espoused (...)
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  2. Causal Necessity and the Future: Two Views.Steven M. Duncan - manuscript
    In this paper I offer an alternative to the standard, mechanistic/fatalistic account of causal necessity, one compatible with the existence of laws of nature but not deterministic in the way this is usually understood.
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  3. Humean Nomic Essentialism.Harjit Bhogal & Zee R. Perry - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Humeanism -- the idea that there are no necessary connections between distinct existences -- and Nomic Essentialism -- the idea that properties essentially play the nomic roles that they do -- are two of the most important and influential positions in the metaphysics of science. Traditionally, it has been thought that these positions were incompatible competitors. We disagree. We argue that there is an attractive version of Humeanism that captures the idea that, for example, mass essentially plays the role that (...)
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  4. Review of Alexander Bird, Nature's Metaphysics. [REVIEW]J. W. Carroll - forthcoming - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
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  5. Governing Without A Fundamental Direction of Time: Minimal Primitivism About Laws of Nature.Eddy Keming Chen & Sheldon Goldstein - forthcoming - In Yemima Ben-Menahem (ed.), Rethinking Laws of Nature. Springer.
    The Great Divide in metaphysical debates about laws of nature is between Humeans, who think that laws merely describe the distribution of matter, and non-Humeans, who think that laws govern it. The metaphysics can place demands on the proper formulations of physical theories. It is sometimes assumed that the governing view requires a fundamental / intrinsic direction of time: to govern, laws must be dynamical, producing later states of the world from earlier ones, in accord with the fundamental direction of (...)
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  6. The Primitivist Response to the Inference Problem.Ashley Coates - forthcoming - Dialectica.
    While the inference problem is widely thought to be one of the most serious problems facing non-Humean accounts of laws, Jonathan Schaffer has argued that a primitivist response straightforwardly dissolves the problem. On this basis, he claims that the inference problem is really a pseudo-problem. Here I clarify the prospects of a primitivist response to the inference problem and their implications for the philosophical significance of the problem. I argue both that it is a substantial question whether this sort of (...)
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  7. Metaphysical Necessity in the Neo-Sadraian School and Assessment of Necessitarian Theories of the Laws of Nature.Javad Darvish Aghajani - forthcoming - Teorie Vědy / Theory of Science:1-25.
    To differentiate between the laws of nature and accidental generalizations, we must adopt a view of necessity that is capable of being realized in relationships existing among natural objects. In neo-Sadraian Islamic philosophy, metaphysical necessity is accepted as part of the cause-effect relationship. This paper compares the neo-Sadraian interpretation of necessity and necessitarian theories about the laws of nature, particularly essentialism and universal theory. By resorting to specific forms al-shûrat al-naw’iyyah, the origin of the essential properties of natural objects, I (...)
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  8. The Governing Conception of Laws.Nina Emery - forthcoming - Ergo.
    In her paper, “The Non-Governing Conception of Laws,” Helen Beebee argues that it is not a conceptual truth that laws of nature govern, and thus that one need not insist on a metaphysical account of laws that makes sense of their governing role. I agree with the first point but not the second. Although it is not a conceptual truth, the fact that laws govern follows straightforwardly from an important (though under-appreciated) principle of scientific theory choice combined with a highly (...)
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  9. The Strong Arm of the Law: A Unified Account of Necessary and Contingent Laws of Nature.Salim Hirèche, Niels Linnemann, Robert Michels & Lisa Vogt - forthcoming - Synthese 199 (3-4):10211-10252.
    A common feature of all standard theories of the laws of nature is that they are "absolutist": They take laws to be either all metaphysically necessary or all contingent. Science, however, gives us reason to think that there are laws of both kinds, suggesting that standard theories should make way for "non-absolutist" alternatives: theories which accommodate laws of both modal statuses. In this paper, we set out three explanatory challenges for any candidate non-absolutist theory and discuss the prospects of the (...)
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  10. Laws of Nature: Necessary and Contingent.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    This paper shows how a niche account of the metaphysics of laws of nature and physical properties—the Powers-BSA—can underpin both a sense in which the laws are metaphysically necessary and a sense in which it is true that the laws could have been different. The ability to reconcile entrenched disagreement should count in favour of a philosophical theory, so this paper constitutes a novel argument for the Powers-BSA by showing how it can reconcile disagreement about the laws’ modal status. This (...)
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  11. Critical Notice of Alexander Bird, Nature's Metaphysics: Laws and Properties.Peter Menzies - forthcoming - Analysis.
    This book advocates dispositional essentialism, the view that natural properties have dispositional essences.1 So, for example, the essence of the property of being negatively charged is to be disposed to attract positively charged objects. From this fact it follows that it is a law that all negatively charged objects will attract positively 10 charged objects; and indeed that this law is metaphysically necessary. Since the identity of the property of being negatively charged is determined by its being related in a (...)
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  12. Finitism in the Metaphysical Foundations.Lydia Patton - forthcoming - In Michael Bennett McNulty (ed.), Kant's Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science: A Critical Guide. Cambridge University Press.
    In this paper, building on recent and longstanding work (Warren 2001, Friedman 2013, Glezer 2018), I investigate how the account of the essences or natures of material substances in the Metaphysical Foundations is related to Kant’s demand for the completeness of the system of nature. We must ascribe causal powers to material substances for the properties of those substances to be observable and knowable. But defining those causal powers requires admitting laws of nature, taken as axioms or principles of natural (...)
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  13. Descartes on Necessity and the Laws of Nature.Nathan Rockwood - forthcoming - Journal of Analytic Theology.
    This paper is on Descartes’ account of modality and, in particular, his account of the necessity of the laws of nature. He famously argues that the necessity of the “eternal truths” of logic and mathematics depends on God’s will. Here I suggest he has the same view about the necessity of the laws of nature. Further, I argue, this is a plausible theory of laws. For philosophers often talk about something being physically necessary because of the laws of nature, but (...)
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  14. The Power to Govern.Erica Shumener - forthcoming - Philosophical Perspectives.
    I provide a new account of what it is for the laws of nature to govern the evolution of events. I locate the source of governance in the content of law propositions. As such, I do not appeal to primitive notions of ground, essence, or production to characterize governance. After introducing the account, I use it to outline previously unrecognized varieties of governance. I also specify that laws must govern to have two theoretical virtues: explanatory power as well as a (...)
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  15. The laws of modality.Matthew Tugby - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-22.
    Nomic realists have traditionally put laws to work within a theory of natural modality, in order to provide a metaphysical source for causal necessitation, counterfactuals, and dispositions. However, laws are well-suited to perform other work as well. Necessitation is a widespread phenomenon and includes cases of categorial, conceptual, grounding, mathematical and normative necessitation. A permissive theory of universals allows us to extend nomic realism into these other domains. With a particular focus on grounding necessitation, it is argued that the sorts (...)
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  16. Laws of Nature as Constraints.Emily Adlam - 2022 - Foundations of Physics 52 (1):1-41.
    The laws of nature have come a long way since the time of Newton: quantum mechanics and relativity have given us good reasons to take seriously the possibility of laws which may be non-local, atemporal, ‘all-at-once,’ retrocausal, or in some other way not well-suited to the standard dynamical time evolution paradigm. Laws of this kind can be accommodated within a Humean approach to lawhood, but many extant non-Humean approaches face significant challenges when we try to apply them to laws outside (...)
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  17. Varieties of dispositional essentialism about natural laws.Salim Hirèche - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-28.
    An important task for metaphysicians and philosophers of science is to account for laws of nature – in particular, how they distinguish themselves from ‘mere’ regularities, and the modal force they are endowed with, ‘natural necessity’. Dispositional essentialism about laws is roughly the view that laws distinguish themselves by being grounded in the essences of natural entities. This paper does not primarily concern how essentialism compares to its main rivals – Humeanism and Armstrongeanism. Rather, it distinguishes and comparatively assesses various (...)
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  18. The modal status of the laws of nature. Tahko’s hybrid view and the kinematical/dynamical distinction.Salim Hireche, Niels Linnemann, Robert Michels & Lisa Vogt - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-15.
    In a recent paper, Tuomas Tahko has argued for a hybrid view of the laws of nature, according to which some physical laws are metaphysically necessary, while others are metaphysically contingent. In this paper, we show that his criterion for distinguishing between these two kinds of laws — which crucially relies on the essences of natural kinds — is on its own unsatisfactory. We then propose an alternative way of drawing the metaphysically necessary/contingent distinction for laws of physics based on (...)
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  19. What Price Changing Laws of Nature?Olivier Sartenaer, Alexandre Guay & Paul Humphreys - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-19.
    In this paper, we show that it is not a conceptual truth about laws of nature that they are immutable. In order to do so, we survey three popular accounts of lawhood— necessitarianism, dispositionalism and ‘best system analysis’—and expose the extent, as well as the philosophical cost, of the amendments that should be enforced in order to leave room for the possibility of changing laws.
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  20. The Priority of Natural Laws in Kant’s Early Philosophy.Aaron Wells - 2021 - Res Philosophica 98 (3):469-497.
    It is widely held that, in his pre-Critical works, Kant endorsed a necessitation account of laws of nature, where laws are grounded in essences or causal powers. Against this, I argue that the early Kant endorsed the priority of laws in explaining and unifying the natural world, as well as their irreducible role in in grounding natural necessity. Laws are a key constituent of Kant’s explanatory naturalism, rather than undermining it. By laying out neglected distinctions Kant draws among types of (...)
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  21. Invariances in Transformational Emergence.Paul Humphreys - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2745-2756.
    This paper examines some possibilities for the laws of nature changing over time. This is done within the context of recent literature on transformational emergence. Transformational emergence is a diachronic account of emergence that does not require the invariance of fundamental objects, properties, and laws. The requirement that no new laws are introduced after the first instance of the universe seems to indicate that all the laws of the universe are present from the outset. By using a dispositional approach to (...)
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  22. Necessary Laws and the Problem of Counterlegals.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (3):518-535.
    Substantive counterlegal discourse poses a problem for those according to whom the laws of nature are metaphysically necessary. I discern two types of necessitarianism about laws: dispositional essentialism and modal necessitarianism. I argue that Toby Handfield’s response to the problem of counterlegals cannot help the modal necessitarian, according to whom all possible worlds are identical with respect to the laws. I thus propose a fictionalist treatment of counterlegals. Fictions are not limited by metaphysical possibility; hence, fictionalism affords the modal necessitarian (...)
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  23. On Metaphysically Necessary Laws From Physics.Niels Linnemann - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (2):1-13.
    How does metaphysical necessity relate to the modal force often associated with natural laws? Fine argues that natural necessity can neither be obtained from metaphysical necessity via forms of restriction nor of relativization — and therefore pleads for modal pluralism concerning natural and metaphysical necessity. Wolff, 898–906, 2013) aims at providing illustrative examples in support of applying Fine’s view to the laws of nature with specific recourse to the laws of physics: On the one hand, Wolff takes it that equations (...)
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  24. Five Sources of Contingency for Dispositionalism.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Metaphysica 21 (1):9-30.
    Law dispositionalism is the doctrine according to which laws of nature are grounded on powers/dispositions. In this article, I shall examine how certain laws of nature can turn out to be contingent on this view. First of all, I shall distinguish between two versions of law dispositionalism (i.e., a weak and a strong one) and I shall also single out two further theses that may be conjoined with it (i.e., strong and weak dispositional essentialism). I shall then define four different (...)
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  25. The Compatibility of Evolution and Classical Metaphysics.Dennis F. Polis - 2020 - Studia Gilsoniana 9 (4):549-585.
    The compatibility of evolution with Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics is defended in response to Fr. Michal Chaberek’s thesis of incompatibility. The motivation and structure of Darwin’s theory are reviewed, including the roles of secondary causality, randomness and necessity. “Randomness” is an analogous term whose evolutionary use, while challenging, is fully compatible with theism. Evolution’s necessity derives from the laws of nature, which are intentional realities, the vehicle of divine providence. Methodological analysis shows that metaphysics lacks the evidentiary basis to judge biological theories. (...)
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  26. Kant on the Necessity of the Empirical Laws of Nature.Federico Rampinini - 2020 - Con-Textos Kantianos 1 (12):598-602.
    Review of: Seide, Ansgar, Die Notwendigkeit empirischer Naturgesetze bei Kant, Berlin- Boston, de Gruyter, 2020, pp. 417. ISBN: 978-3-11-069713-1.
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  27. Quidditism and Contingent Laws.Umut Baysan - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (4):286-290.
    According to contingentism, laws of nature hold contingently. An objection to contingentism is that it implies quidditism, and therefore inherits its implausible consequences. This paper argues that this objection is misguided. Understood one way, quidditism is not an implication of contingentism, hence even if it has implausible consequences, these are not relevant to contingentism. Understood another way, quidditism is implied by contingentism, but it is less clear if this version of quidditism has the same implausible consequences. Whatever the merits of (...)
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  28. Best Before Date Necessity: A Reply to Psillos.Eduardo Castro - 2019 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 50 (1):163-169.
    This discussion paper is a reply to Stathis Psillos’ paper “Induction and Natural Necessities” :327–340, (2017), published in this journal. In that paper, he attempts to refute David Armstrong’s solution to the problem of induction. To accomplish this desideratum, he proposes that the best explanation for our observed regularities is a sort of “best before date” necessity. That is, necessary connections may break down and are not by default timeless. He develops arguments against my :67–82, (2014) defence of the necessitarian (...)
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  29. Laws of Nature: a philosophical approach / Leis da Natureza: uma abordagem filosófica.Rodrigo Reis Lastra Cid - 2019 - Macapá, Brazil: Editora da Universidade Federal do Amapá.
    This book deals with an internal theme of metaphysics, which is the metaphysics of the laws of nature. The author presents traditional contemporary theories, as well as his own original theory, and evaluates each one at a time. He also addresses the problem of the modality of the laws of nature and makes some criticism of the standard view of necessity as truth in all possible worlds, and shows an application of his discussion to the metaphysics of physics. / Este (...)
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  30. What Laws? Which Past?: Meillassoux’s Hyper-Chaos and the Epistemological Limitations of Retro-Causation.Michael J. Ardoline - 2018 - Open Philosophy 1 (1):235-244.
    The question of the metaphysical status of the laws of physics has received increased attention in recent years. Perhaps most well-known among this work are David Lewis’s Humean supervenience and Nancy Cartwright’s dispositionalism, both of which reject the classical conception of the laws of physics as necessary and real independent of the objects they govern, arguing instead that what we call laws are shorthand for the regularities of local states of affairs or the dispositions of objects. The properties of necessity (...)
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  31. Explaining the Modal Force of Natural Laws.Andreas Bartels - 2018 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):6.
    In this paper, I will defend the thesis that fundamental natural laws are distinguished from accidental empirical generalizations neither by metaphysical necessity, 147–155, 2005, 2007) nor by contingent necessitation. The only sort of modal force that distinguishes natural laws, I will argue, arises from the peculiar physical property of mutual independence of elementary interactions exemplifying the laws. Mutual independence of elementary interactions means that their existence and their nature do not depend in any way on which other interactions presently occur. (...)
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  32. Emergentism and the Contingent Solubility of Salt.Lok-Chi Chan - 2018 - Theoria 84 (4):309-324.
    Alexander Bird (2001; 2002; 2007) offers a powerful argument showing that, regardless of whether necessitarianism or contingentism about laws is true, salt necessarily dissolves in water. The argument is that the same laws of nature that are necessary for the constitution of salt necessitate the solubility of salt. This paper shows that Bird’s argument faces a serious objection if the possibility of emergentism – in particular, C. D. Broad’s account – is taken into account. The idea is (roughly) that some (...)
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  33. Lockean Essentialism and the Possibility of Miracles.Nathan Rockwood - 2018 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 56 (2):293-310.
    If the laws of nature are metaphysically necessary, then it appears that miracles are metaphysically impossible. Yet Locke accepts both Essentialism, which takes the laws to be metaphysically necessary, and the possibility of miracles. I argue that the apparent conflict here can be resolved if the laws are by themselves insufficient for guaranteeing the outcome of a particular event. This suggests that, on Locke’s view, the laws of nature entail how an object would behave absent divine intervention. While other views (...)
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  34. Kant's Necessitation Account of Laws and the Nature of Natures.James Messina - 2017 - In Michela Massimi & Angela Breitenbach (eds.), Kant and the Laws of Nature.
    I elaborate and defend a "necessitarian" interpretation of Kant's account of laws.
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  35. Are the laws of nature metaphysically necessary? / São as leis da natureza metafisicamente necessárias?Rodrigo Cid - 2016 - Dissertation, Universidade Federal Do Rio de Janeiro
    The main intent of this thesis is to defend that the laws of nature are better thought as transcendent universals, such as platonic governism suggests, and that they are metaphysically necessary in a strong way, such as the heterodox version of such platonism defends. With this intention, we sustain that physical symmetries are essential consequences of the laws of nature – what solves the challenge of symmetries – thus being metaphysically necessary, without being governist's necessitation laws. First, we will show (...)
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  36. Naturgesetze in einer kausalen Welt.Bartels Andreas - 2015 - mentis.
    How can the laws of nature, that determine how objects behave, be understood as natural objects themselves? The answer that transpires from the analysis of modern theories of the laws of nature is: laws of nature are due to the causal structure of our world. They express the causal efficiacy of fundamental properties of nature. In contrast to rivaling theories, this answer does justice to the fact that laws of nature determine the course of natural events without having to appeal (...)
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  37. Explaining Laws of Nature: A Metaphysical Investigation Into the Natural Principles Governing the Universe.Siegfried Jaag - 2015 - Dissertation,
  38. The Modal Status of Laws: In Defence of a Hybrid View.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (260):509-528.
    Three popular views regarding the modal status of the laws of nature are discussed: Humean Supervenience, nomic necessitation, and scientific/dispositional essentialism. These views are examined especially with regard to their take on the apparent modal force of laws and their ability to explain that modal force. It will be suggested that none of the three views, at least in their strongest form, can be maintained if some laws are metaphysically necessary, but others are metaphysically contingent. Some reasons for thinking that (...)
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  39. Kant's Response to Hume in the Second Analogy.Saniye Vatansever - 2015 - Dissertation, University of Illinois, Chicago
    This dissertation project aims to solve −what I call− Kant’s “problem of empirical laws,” a problem concerning the coherence of Kant's claims that empirical laws as laws express a kind of necessity, and as empirical judgments they are contingent. In the literature, this issue is framed in the context of Kant’s relation to Hume, and formulated as a question of whether Kant agrees with Hume that empirical laws are mere contingent generalizations. The disagreement on Kant’s conception of empirical laws partly (...)
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  40. Necessary Laws? Seifert Vs. Oderberg.Vlastimil Vohánka - 2015 - Studia Neoaristotelica 12 (1):5-56.
    I discuss Josef Seifert, a realist phenomenologist, and David Oderberg, an Aristotelian. Both endorse essences, understood as objective quiddities. Both argue that no law of nature is strongly necessary: i.e. true in every possible world. But they disagree about weak necessity of laws: Seifert argues that no law is true in every possible world in which its referring expressions are non-empty, while Oderberg argues that some is. I restate, relate, and review reasons of both authors for each of those theses. (...)
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  41. Necessary Laws and Chemical Kinds.Nora Berenstain - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (4):631-647.
    Contingentism, generally contrasted with law necessitarianism, is the view that the laws of nature are contingent. It is often coupled with the claim that their contingency is knowable a priori. This paper considers Bird's (2001, 2002, 2005, 2007) arguments for the thesis that, necessarily, salt dissolves in water; and it defends his view against Beebee's (2001) and Psillos's (2002) contingentist objections. A new contingentist objection is offered and several reasons for scepticism about its success are raised. It is concluded that (...)
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  42. The “Constant” Threat to the Dispositional Essentialist Conception of Laws.Vassilios Livanios - 2014 - Metaphysica 15 (1).
    According to the dispositional essentialist account of laws of nature, the latter express the dispositional nature of fundamental natural properties. In this paper I discuss the difficulty that the existence of fundamental constants of nature raises for that account. To this end, I examine a relevant argument against the account and describe how an advocate of the dispositionalist conception may try to undermine it by raising objections to its premises. Then I discuss those objections and show that eventually all fail. (...)
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  43. Hume's Dictum and the Asymmetry of Counterfactual Dependence.Jessica M. Wilson - 2014 - In Alastair Wilson (ed.), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. Oxford University Press. pp. 258-279.
    Why believe Hume's Dictum, according to which there are, roughly speaking, no necessary connections between wholly distinct entities? Schaffer suggests that HD, at least as applied to causal or nomological connections, is motivated as required by the best account of of counterfactuals---namely, a similarity-based possible worlds account, where the operative notion of similarity requires 'miracles'---more specifically, worlds where entities of the same type that actually exist enter into different laws. The main cited motivations for such an account of similarity are (...)
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  44. The Emperor's New Metaphysics of Powers.Stephen Barker - 2013 - Mind 122 (487):605-653.
    This paper argues that the new metaphysics of powers, also known as dispositional essentialism or causal structuralism, is an illusory metaphysics. I argue for this in the following way. I begin by distinguishing three fundamental ways of seeing how facts of physical modality — facts about physical necessitation and possibility, causation, disposition, and chance — are grounded in the world. The first way, call it the first degree, is that the actual world or all worlds, in their entirety, are the (...)
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  45. Functionalism and The Independence Problems.Darren Bradley - 2013 - Noûs 47 (1):545-557.
    The independence problems for functionalism stem from the worry that if functional properties are defined in terms of their causes and effects then such functional properties seem to be too intimately connected to these purported causes and effects. I distinguish three different ways the independence problems can be filled out – in terms of necessary connections, analytic connections and vacuous explanations. I argue that none of these present serious problems. Instead, they bring out some important and over-looked features of functionalism.
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  46. On Induction: Time-Limited Necessity Vs. Timeless Necessity.Eduardo Castro - 2013 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 33 (3):67-82.
    Abstract: This paper defends David Armstrong’s solution to the problem of inductionb against Helen Beebee’s attack on that solution. To solve theproblem of induction, Armstrong contends that the timeless necessity explanation is the best explanation of our observed regularities, whereas Beebee attempts to demonstrate that the time-limited necessity explanation is an equally good explanation. Allegedly, this explanation blocks Armstrong’s solution. I demonstrate that even if the time-limited ecessity explanation were an equally good explanation of our observed regularities, this explanation does (...)
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  47. Is the Humean Defeated by Induction?Benjamin T. H. Smart - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (2):319-332.
    Many necessitarians about cause and law (Armstrong 1983; Mumford 2004; Bird 2007) have argued that Humeans are unable to justify their inductive inferences, as Humean laws are nothing but the sum of their instances. In this paper I argue against these necessitarian claims. I show that Armstrong is committed to the explanatory value of Humean laws (in the form of universally quantified statements), and that contra Armstrong, brute regularities often do have genuine explanatory value. I finish with a Humean attempt (...)
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  48. Nomic Necessity for Platonists.Matthew Tugby - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (4):324-331.
    After identifying some existing explanations offered by nomic necessitarians for the alleged necessary connections between natural properties and their dispositional or nomic features, I discuss a less explored necessitarian strategy. This strategy is available to Platonists who hold that properties exist necessarily, as most do.
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  49. A World of Contingencies.Robert E. Ulanowicz - 2013 - Zygon 48 (1):77-92.
    Physicalism holds that the laws of physics are inviolable and ubiquitous and thereby account for all of reality. Laws leave no “wiggle room” or “gaps” for action by numinous agents. They cannot be invoked, however, without boundary stipulations that perforce are contingent and which “drive” the laws. Driving contingencies are not limited to instances of “blind chance,” but rather span a continuum of amalgamations with regularities, up to and including nearly determinate propensities. Most examples manifest directionality, and their very definition (...)
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  50. Schaffer on Laws of Nature.Alastair Wilson - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (3):653-667.
    In ‘Quiddistic Knowledge’ (Schaffer in Philos Stud 123:1–32, 2005), Jonathan Schaffer argued influentially against the view that the laws of nature are metaphysically necessary. In this reply I aim to show how a coherent and well-motivated form of necessitarianism can withstand his critique. Modal necessitarianism—the view that the actual laws are the laws of all possible worlds—can do justice to some intuitive motivations for necessitarianism, and it has the resources to respond to all of Schaffer’s objections. It also has certain (...)
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