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Are Causal Laws Contingent?

In John Bacon, Keith Campbell & Lloyd Reinhardt (eds.), Ontology, Causality and Mind: Essays in Honour of D.M. Armstrong. Cambridge University Press (1993)

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  1. Categoricalism, Dispositionalism, and the Epistemology of Properties.Matthew Tugby - 2014 - Synthese 191 (6):1-16.
    Notoriously, the dispositional view of natural properties is thought to face a number of regress problems, one of which points to an epistemological worry. In this paper, I argue that the rival categorical view is also susceptible to the same kind of regress problem. This problem can be overcome, most plausibly, with the development of a structuralist epistemology. After identifying problems faced by alternative solutions, I sketch the main features of this structuralist epistemological approach, referring to graph-theoretic modelling in the (...)
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  • Against A Posteriori Functionalism.Marc A. Moffett - 2010 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (1):83-106.
    There are two constraints on any functionalist solution to the Mind-Body Problem construed as an answer to the question, “What is the relationship between the mental properties and relations (hereafter, simply the mental properties) and physical properties and relations?” The first constraint is that it must actually address the Mind-Body Problem and not simply redefine the debate in terms of other, more tractable, properties (e.g., the species-specific property of having human-pain). Such moves can be seen to be spurious by the (...)
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  • A Note on Scientific Essentialism, Laws of Nature, and Counterfactual Conditionals.Marc Lange - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (2):227 – 241.
    Scientific essentialism aims to account for the natural laws' special capacity to support counterfactuals. I argue that scientific essentialism can do so only by resorting to devices that are just as ad hoc as those that essentialists accuse Humean regularity theories of employing. I conclude by offering an account of the laws' distinctive relation to counterfactuals that portrays laws as contingent but nevertheless distinct from accidents by virtue of possessing a genuine variety of necessity.
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  • Are All Possible Laws Actual Laws?Simon Bostock - 2003 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (4):517 – 533.
    Suppose it is a law that all Fs are G. Does the law hold in all possible worlds? According to Necessitarianism, it holds in at least all those worlds containing F-ness. I argue that the Necessitarian must also take the law to hold in all those possible worlds which do not contain F-ness. Accepting the principle that a law can only hold in a world if it has some ontological grounding in that world, I argue that Necessitarianism is committed to (...)
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  • Essential Properties - Analysis and Extension.Nathan Wildman - 2011 - Dissertation, Cambridge
  • Necessary Laws.Max Kistler - 2005 - In Jan Faye, Paul Needham, Uwe Scheffler & Max Urchs (eds.), Nature’s Principles. Springer. pp. 201-227.
    In the first part of this paper, I argue against the view that laws of nature are contingent, by attacking a necessary condition for its truth within the framework of a conception of laws as relations between universals. I try to show that there is no independent reason to think that universals have an essence independent of their nomological properties. However, such a non-qualitative essence is required to make sense of the idea that different laws link the same universals in (...)
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  • Simon Bostock.Property Realism - forthcoming - Metaphysica.
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  • The Causal Theory of Properties and the Causal Theory of Reference, or How to Name Properties and Why It Matters.Robert D. Rupert - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (3):579 - 612.
    forthcoming in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
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  • 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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  • Functionalism, Mental Causation, and the Problem of Metaphysically Necessary Effects.Robert D. Rupert - 2006 - Noûs 40 (2):256-83.
    The recent literature on mental causation has not been kind to nonreductive, materialist functionalism (‘functionalism’, hereafter, except where that term is otherwise qualified). The exclusion problem2 has done much of the damage, but the epiphenomenalist threat has taken other forms. Functionalism also faces what I will call the ‘problem of metaphysically necessary effects’ (Block, 1990, pp. 157-60, Antony and Levine, 1997, pp. 91-92, Pereboom, 2002, p. 515, Millikan, 1999, p. 47, Jackson, 1998, pp. 660-61). Functionalist mental properties are individuated partly (...)
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  • Truthmaking, Recombination, and Facts Ontology.Frank Hofmann - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 128 (2):409-440.
    The idea of truthmakers is important for doing serious metaphysics, since a truthmaker principle can give us important guidance in finding out what we would like to include into our ontology. Recently, David Lewis has argued against Armstrong’s argument that a plausible truthmaker principle requires us to accept facts. I would like to take a close look at the argument. I will argue in detail that the Humean principle of recombination on which Lewis relies is not plausible (independently of the (...)
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  • A Powers Theory of Modality: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Reject Possible Worlds.Jonathan D. Jacobs - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (2):227-248.
    Possible worlds, concrete or abstract as you like, are irrelevant to the truthmakers for modality—or so I shall argue in this paper. First, I present the neo-Humean picture of modality, and explain why those who accept it deny a common sense view of modality. Second, I present what I take to be the most pressing objection to the neo-Humean account, one that, I argue, applies equally well to any theory that grounds modality in possible worlds. Third, I present an alternative, (...)
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  • Quiddistic Knowledge.Jonathan Schaffer - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 123 (1-2):1-32.
    Is the relation between properties and the causal powers they confer necessary, or contingent? Necessary, says Sydney Shoemaker, on pain of skepticism about the properties. Contingent, says David Lewis, swallowing the skeptical conclusion. I shall argue that Lewis is right about the metaphysics, but that Shoemaker and Lewis are wrong about the epistemology. Properties have intrinsic natures (quiddities), which we can know.
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  • Dispositions and Ontology.Denny Bradshaw - 2003 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 41 (2):169-182.
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  • 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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