In G. Abel (ed.), Kreativität. XX. Deutscher Kongress für Philosophie. Sektionsbeiträge Band 1. Universitätsverlag der Technischen Universität (2005)

Markus Schrenk
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
The striking difference between the orthodox nomological necessitation view of laws and the claims made recently by Scientific Essentialism is that on the latter interpretation laws are metaphysically necessary while they are contingent on the basis of the former. This shift is usually perceived as an upgrading: essentialism makes the laws as robust as possible. The aim of my paper—in which I contrast Brian Ellis’s Scientific Essentialism and David Armstrong’s theory of nomological necessity—is threefold. (1) I first underline the familiar fact that metaphysical necessity (of Kripkean “water is necessarily H2O” kind) is not a stronger kind of necessity than nomological necessity but an entirely different kind of thing: nomological, but not metaphysical necessity, is an intra-world necessitation which Armstrong (almost) identifies with causation; metaphysical, but not nomological necessitation, has a canonical link to possible world considerations and counterfactual reasoning. Hence, the change from one necessity to the other is not an upgrading but a substantial shift. (2) I will explain how the essentialists, who promote this shift, are nonetheless able to retain the features of nomological necessity. (3) I also explore, for both the essentialist and the Armstrongian, whether they could extract a modal force from intra-world nomological necessity which it does not have per se. I argue that such a modal force is, indeed, obtainable for them. I will close the paper with some remarks and questions about the relation between Kripkean metaphysical necessity and the modal version of nomological necessity as defined in (3).
Keywords scientific essentialism  nomological necessity  laws of nature
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Nomological Necessity and the Paradoxes of Confirmation.Brian Skyrms - 1966 - Philosophy of Science 33 (3):230-249.
The Powerlessness of Necessity.Markus Schrenk - 2010 - Noûs 44 (4):725-739.
Nomological and Transcendental Criteria for Scientific Laws.Predrag Šustar - 2005 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 5 (3):533-544.
Power Essentialism.David Robb - 2007 - Philosophical Topics 35 (1-2):343-58.
The Status of Charity I: Conceptual Truth or a Posteriori Necessity?Kathrin Glüer - 2006 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 14 (3):337 – 359.
Supervenience and Necessity: A Response to Balaguer.J. M. Dieterle - 2000 - Philosophia Mathematica 8 (3):302-309.
Interfering with Nomological Necessity.Markus Schrenk - 2011 - Philosophical Quarterly 61 (244):577-597.


Added to PP index

Total views
379 ( #21,547 of 2,433,244 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
17 ( #42,359 of 2,433,244 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes