Schaffer on Laws of Nature

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Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

In ‘Quiddistic Knowledge’ (Schaffer in Philos Stud 123:1–32, 2005), Jonathan Schaffer argued influentially against the view that the laws of nature are metaphysically necessary. In this reply I aim to show how a coherent and well-motivated form of necessitarianism can withstand his critique. Modal necessitarianism—the view that the actual laws are the laws of all possible worlds—can do justice to some intuitive motivations for necessitarianism, and it has the resources to respond to all of Schaffer’s objections. It also has certain advantages over contingentism in the domain of modal epistemology. I conclude that necessitarianism about laws remains a live option.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-667
Number of pages15
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Volume164
Issue number3
Early online date14 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2013