Are laws of nature consistent with contingency?

In Walter Ott & Lydia Patton (eds.), Laws of Nature. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press (2018)
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Abstract

Are the laws of nature consistent with contingency about what happens in the world? That depends on what the laws of nature actually are, but it also depends on what they are like. The latter is the concern of this chapter, which looks at three views that are widely endorsed: ‘Humean’ regularity accounts, laws as relations among universals, and disposition/powers accounts. Given an account of what laws are, what follows about how much contingency, and of what kinds, laws allow? In all three cases, the authors argue, the root idea of what laws are does not settle the issue of whether they allow contingency. Advocates of the different accounts may argue for one view or another on the issue, but this will be an add-on rather than a consequence of the basic view about what laws are.

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Author Profiles

Nancy Cartwright
London School of Economics
Pedro Merlussi
Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro

Citations of this work

Non‐Humean theories of natural necessity.Tyler Hildebrand - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (5):e12662.
What Price Changing Laws of Nature?Olivier Sartenaer, Alexandre Guay & Paul Humphreys - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-19.
On the Explanatory Power of Dispositional Realism.Nélida Gentile & Susana Lucero - 2021 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie:1-16.

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