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Some Laws of Nature are Metaphysically Contingent

Roberts, John (2009) Some Laws of Nature are Metaphysically Contingent. [Preprint]

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    Abstract

    Laws of nature are puzzling because they have a ‘modal character’—they seem to be ‘necessary-ish’—even though they also seem to be metaphysically contingent. And it is hard to understand how contingent truths could have such a modal character. Scientific essentialism is a doctrine that seems to dissolve this puzzle, by showing that laws of nature are actually metaphysically necessary. I argue that even if the metaphysics of natural kinds and properties offered by scientific essentialism is correct, there are still some metaphysically contingent truths that share the modal character of the laws of nature. I argue that these contingent truths should be considered laws of nature. So even if scientific essentialism is true, at least some laws of nature are metaphysically contingent.


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    Item Type: Preprint
    Keywords: Laws of nature; essentialism; scientific essentialism; counterfactuals
    Subjects: General Issues > Laws of Nature
    Depositing User: John T. Roberts
    Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2009
    Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 11:18
    Item ID: 4760
    URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/4760

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