Laws of Nature: Necessary and Contingent

Philosophical Quarterly 72 (4):875-895 (2022)
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Abstract

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 paper also constitutes a defence of modal necessitarianism, the interesting and controversial view according to which all worlds are nomologically identical, because it shows how the modal necessitarian can appease the orthodox contingentist about laws.

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Samuel Kimpton-Nye
King's College London

Citations of this work

On Powers BSAs.Toby Friend - 2023 - Philosophical Quarterly 73 (2):452-475.

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References found in this work

The meaning of 'meaning'.Hilary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
New work for a theory of universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Philosophy 56 (217):431-433.
The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 11 (3):506-507.
Real patterns.Daniel C. Dennett - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):27-51.

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