The Modal Status of Laws: In Defence of a Hybrid View

Philosophical Quarterly 65 (260):509-528 (2015)

Authors
Tuomas E. Tahko
Bristol University
Abstract
Three popular views regarding the modal status of the laws of nature are discussed: Humean Supervenience, nomic necessitation, and scientific/dispositional essentialism. These views are examined especially with regard to their take on the apparent modal force of laws and their ability to explain that modal force. It will be suggested that none of the three views, at least in their strongest form, can be maintained if some laws are metaphysically necessary, but others are metaphysically contingent. Some reasons for thinking that such variation in the modal status of laws exists will be presented with reference to physics. This drives us towards a fourth, hybrid view, according to which there are both necessary and contingent laws. The prospects for such a view are studied.
Keywords laws  essentialism  metaphysical necessity  physical necessity  natural kinds  dispositions  dispositional essentialism  scientific essentialism  nomic necessitation  Humean Supervenience
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DOI 10.1093/pq/pqv006
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References found in this work BETA

Nature’s Metaphysics.Alexander Bird - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Laws in Nature.Stephen Mumford - 2004 - Routledge.
The Metaphysics Within Physics.Tim Maudlin - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
The Metaphysics within Physics.Tim Maudlin - 2007 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 69 (3):610-611.

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Citations of this work BETA

Disentangling Nature's Joints.Tuomas Tahko - 2017 - In William Simpson, Robert Koons & Nicholas Teh (eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science. Routledge. pp. 147-166.
Explaining the Modal Force of Natural Laws.Andreas Bartels - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1):6.
Modal Status of Laws of Nature自然法則の様相的身分.Taku Tanikawa - 2019 - Journal of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science 47 (1):1-13.

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