Necessitarianism about Laws

Edited by Markus Schrenk (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
Assistant editor: Daian Bica (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
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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203 found
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  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. Moral Necessitism and Scientific Contingentism.Harjit Bhogal - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaethics.
    Here is a puzzling phenomenon. Moral theories are typically thought to be necessary. If act utilitarianism is true, for example, then it is necessarily true. However, scientific theories are typically thought to be contingent. If quantum field theory is true, it’s not necessarily true — the world could have been Newtonian. My aim is to explore this discrepancy between domains. -/- In particular, I explore the role of what I call `internality’ intuitions in motivating necessitism about both moral and scientific (...)
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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. pp. 21-64.
    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. Productive Laws in Relativistic Spacetimes.Chris Dorst - forthcoming - Philosophers' Imprint.
    One of the most intuitive views about the metaphysics of laws of nature is Tim Maudlin's idea of a Fundamental Law of Temporal Evolution. So-called FLOTEs are primitive elements of the universe that produce later states from earlier states. While FLOTEs are at home in traditional Newtonian and non-relativistic quantum mechanical theories (not to mention our pre-theoretic conception of the world), I consider here whether they can be made to work with relativity. In particular, shifting to relativistic spacetimes poses two (...)
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  9. 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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  10. Dispositional essentialism and the necessity of laws: a deflationary account.Alan Sidelle - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-22.
    Two related claims have lately garnered currency: dispositional essentialism—the view that some or all properties, or some or all fundamental properties, are essentially dispositional; and the claim that laws of nature (or again, many or the fundamental ones) are metaphysically necessary. I have argued elsewhere (On the metaphysical contingency of laws of nature, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002) that the laws of nature do not have a mind-independent metaphysical necessity, but recent developments on dispositions have given these ideas a new (...)
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  11. Matter and Mathematics: An Essentialist Account of the Laws of Nature by Andrew YOUNAN (review).Dominic V. Cassella - 2023 - Review of Metaphysics 77 (1):166-168.
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Reviewed by:Matter and Mathematics: An Essentialist Account of the Laws of Nature by Andrew YOUNANDominic V. CassellaYOUNAN, Andrew. Matter and Mathematics: An Essentialist Account of the Laws of Nature. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2023. xii + 228 pp. Cloth, $75.00Andrew Younan’s work situates itself between two opposing philosophical accounts of the laws of nature. In one corner, there are the Humeans (or Nominalists); in the (...)
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  12. Can the Ontology of Bohmian Mechanics Consists Only in Particles? The PBR Theorem Says No.Shan Gao - 2023 - Foundations of Physics 53 (6):1-21.
    The meaning of the wave function is an important unresolved issue in Bohmian mechanics. On the one hand, according to the nomological view, the wave function of the universe or the universal wave function is nomological, like a law of nature. On the other hand, the PBR theorem proves that the wave function in quantum mechanics or the effective wave function in Bohmian mechanics is ontic, representing the ontic state of a physical system in the universe. It is usually thought (...)
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  13. Humean Reductionism about Essence.Ned Hall - 2023 - In Christian Loew, Siegfried Jaag & Michael Townsen Hicks (eds.), Humean Laws for Human Agents. Oxford: Oxford UP. pp. 258-286.
    In the metaphysics of laws of nature, one fundamental philosophical question is whether we should give a metaphysical or rather an epistemic account of what they are; that is the core issue that divides ‘Humeans’ from ‘anti-Humeans’. In much the same way, a key question we face with essences is whether to give a metaphysical or rather an epistemic account of what they are. (So note well: in choosing to deploy the term ‘essence’ this chapter is not taking sides on (...)
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  14. Categorical Monism, Laws, and the Inference Problem.Vassilis Livanios - 2023 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 54 (4):599-619.
    A well-known difficulty that affects all accounts of laws of nature according to which the latter are higher-order facts involving relations between universals (the so-called DTA accounts, from Dretske in Philosophy of Science 44:248–268, 1977; Tooley in Canadian Journal of Philosophy 7:667–698, 1977 and Armstrong (What is a Law of Nature?, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1983)) is the Inference Problem: how can laws construed in that way determine the first-order regularities that we find in the actual world? Bird (Analysis 65:147–55, (...)
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  15. Kant's regulative essentialism and the unknowability of real essences.Hoffer Noam - 2023 - European Journal of Philosophy 31 (4):887-901.
    In his lectures on Logic and Metaphysics, Kant distinguishes between logical and real essences. While the former is related to concepts and is knowable, the latter is related to things and is unknowable. In this paper, I argue that the unknowability is explained by the modal characteristic of real essences as a necessitating ground on which a priori knowledge is impossible. I also show how this claim is related to the unknowable necessity of particular laws of nature. Since laws of (...)
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  16. Against relationalism about modality.Carlos Romero - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (8):2245-2274.
    On a highly influential way to think of modality, that I call ‘relationalism’, the modality of a state is explained by its being composed of properties, and these properties being related by a higher-order and primitively modal relation. Examples of relationalism are the Dretske-Tooley-Armstrong account of natural necessity, many dispositional essentialist views, and Wang’s incompatibility primitivism. I argue that relationalism faces four difficulties: that the selection between modal relations is arbitrary, that the modal relation cannot belong to any logical order, (...)
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  17. The Necessity of Empirical Laws of Nature through the Lens of Kant’s Dialectic.Lorenzo Spagnesi - 2023 - Kantian Review 28 (3):413-428.
    This article analyses a sceptical challenge resulting from metaphysical approaches to the problem of the necessity of empirical laws of nature in Kant’s critical philosophy (what I shall call ‘essentialist’ readings). I argue that this challenge may jeopardize the purpose of empirical enquiry (and therefore the plausibility of essentialist readings), but that Kant has internal resources to address it in the Dialectic of the Critique of Pure Reason. I show that reading this problem through the lens of the Dialectic allows (...)
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  18. Powers as Mereological Lawmakers.Michael Traynor - 2023 - In Christopher J. Austin, Anna Marmodoro & Andrea Roselli (eds.), Powers, Parts and Wholes: Essays on the Mereology of Powers. Routledge. pp. 83-95.
    This chapter explores a potential analogy between mereological principles and laws of nature. Against a backdrop of what Marmodoro has termed ‘power structuralism’ (and a rejection of a Humean worldview), the connection between parthood and modality may be richer than has hitherto been considered. Mereological principles delineate possibilities for parts and wholes, and putting powers at the centre of a discussion about parthood can furnish a novel conception of mereological laws, much as dispositionalism has done so for natural laws; namely, (...)
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  19. David Armstrong’s nomological realism.Т. Н Тарасенко - 2023 - Philosophy Journal 16 (3):103-117.
    The article discusses the position of the Australian philosopher David Armstrong on the problem of the ontological status of the laws of nature. Through a clarification of Armstrong’s understanding of naturalism, physicalism, and factualism, the general essence of his metaphysical project is summarized. Then article presents his theory of the laws of nature, which is a kind of nomological realism: his version of the nomolog­ical argument is examined; his general grounds for rejecting the regularity theories, which is classical for the (...)
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  20. 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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  21. Interacting Minds in the Physical World.Alin C. Cucu - 2022 - Dissertation, University of Lausanne
    Mental causation, idea that it is us – via our minds – who cause bodily actions is as commonsensical as it is indispensable for our understanding of ourselves as rational agents. Somewhat less uncontroversial, but nonetheless widespread (at least among ordinary people) is the idea that the mind is non-physical, following the intuition that what is physical can neither act nor think nor judge morally. Taken together, and cast into a metaphysical thesis, the two intuitions yield interactive dualism: the view (...)
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  22. The Governing Conception of Laws.Nina Emery - 2022 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9.
    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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  23. Laws of Nature: Necessary and Contingent.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (4):875-895.
    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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  24. An Armstrongian defense of dispositional monist accounts of laws of nature.Mousa Mohammadian - 2022 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (3):1-15.
    Bird reveals an important problem at the heart of Armstrong’s theory of laws of nature: to explain how a law necessitates its corresponding regularity, Armstrong is committed to a vicious regress. In his very brief response, Armstrong gestures towards an argument that, as he admits, is more of a “speculation.” Later, Barker and Smart argue that a very similar problem threatens Bird’s dispositional monist theory of laws of nature and he is committed to a similar vicious regress. In this paper, (...)
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  25. Finitism in the Metaphysical Foundations.Lydia Patton - 2022 - In Michael Bennett McNulty (ed.), Kant's Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science: A Critical Guide. Cambridge University Press. pp. 119-137.
    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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  26. Descartes on Necessity and the Laws of Nature.Nathan Rockwood - 2022 - Journal of Analytic Theology 10:277-292.
    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 nomologically or physically necessary because of the laws of (...)
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  27. The Power to Govern.Erica Shumener - 2022 - Philosophical Perspectives 36 (1):270-291.
    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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  28. The laws of modality.Matthew Tugby - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (8):2597-2618.
    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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  29. Humean nomic essentialism.Harjit Bhogal & Zee R. Perry - 2021 - Noûs 57 (1):81-99.
    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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  30. 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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  31. The strong arm of the law: a unified account of necessary and contingent laws of nature.Salim Hirèche, Niels Linnemann, Robert Michels & Lisa Vogt - 2021 - 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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  32. 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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  33. "It is of the nature of reason to regard things as necessary, not as contingent": A Defense of Spinoza's Necessitarianism.Brandon Rdzak - 2021 - Dissertation, Purdue University
    There is longstanding interpretive dispute between commentators over Spinoza’s commitment to necessitarianism, the doctrine that all things are metaphysically necessary and none are contingent. Those who affirm Spinoza’s commitment to the doctrine adhere to the necessitarian interpretation whereas those who deny it adhere to what I call the semi-necessitarian interpretation. As things stand, the disagreement between commentators appears to have reached an impasse. Notwithstanding, there seems to be no disagreement among commentators on the question of necessitarianism’s philosophical plausibility as a (...)
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  34. 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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  35. Quantum Entanglement, Metaphysics of Relations, Dispositionalism and Е. J. Lowe's Ontology.Н. В Головко - 2021 - Siberian Journal of Philosophy 19 (2):8-35.
    The paper aims to make а fair supplement to the concept of "metaphysics of relations" (bу М. Esfeld) with а coгrect coгresponding interpretation of the dispositional natшe of characteristics within Е. J. Lowe's ontology. А reasoning from science to philosophy leads М. Esfeld to the conclusion that "quantum entanglement understood in terms of non-separability of states speaks for the metaphysics of relations that denies the presence of intrinsic characteristics of the related systems". The same naturalistic argument provides rationale for the (...)
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  36. 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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  37. 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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  38. 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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  39. 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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  40. 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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  41. 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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  42. What Price Changing Laws of Nature?Olivier Sartenaer, Alexandre Guay & Paul Humphreys - 2020 - 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 (though we are happy to leave it as an open empirical question whether they do actually change once in a while). In order to do so, we survey three popular accounts of lawhood—(Armstrong-style) necessitarianism, (Bird-style) dispositionalism and (Lewis-style) ‘best system analysis’—and expose the extent, as well as the philosophical cost, of the amendments that should be enforced in order to leave (...)
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  43. 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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  44. 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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  45. Laws of Nature and Explanatory Circularity.Eduardo Castro - 2019 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 33 (2):27-38..
    Some recent literature [Hicks, M. T. and van Elswyk. P., (2015) pp. 433-443, 2015; Bhogal, H. (2017), pp. 447-460] has argued that the non-Humean conceptions of laws of nature have a same weakness as the Humean conceptions of laws of nature. That is, both conceptions face an explanatory circularity problem. The argument is as follows: the Humean and the non-Humean conceptions of laws of nature agree that the law statements are universal generalisations; thus, both conceptions are vulnerable to an explanatory (...)
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  46. 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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  47. 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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  48. 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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  49. 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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  50. The Impossibility of Natural Necessity.David Oderberg - 2018 - In Alexander Carruth, Sophie Gibb & John Heil (eds.), Ontology, Modality, and Mind: Themes from the Metaphysics of E.J. Lowe. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 73-92.
    I build a case for the impossibility of natural necessity as anything other than a species of metaphysical necessity – the necessity obtaining in virtue of the essences of natural objects. Aristotelian necessitarianism about the laws of nature is clarified and defended. I contrast it with E.J. Lowe’s contingentism about the laws. I examine Lowe’s solution to the circularity/triviality problem besetting natural necessity understood as relative necessity. Lowe’s way out is subject to serious problems unless it is given an essentialist (...)
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