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Contingent laws rule: reply to Bird

Analysis 62 (3):252-255 (2002)

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  1. The Causal Theory of Properties and the Causal Theory of Reference, or How to Name Properties and Why It Matters.Robert D. Rupert - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (3):579 - 612.
    forthcoming in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
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  • Necessary Laws and Chemical Kinds.Nora Berenstain - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (4):631-647.
    Contingentism, generally contrasted with law necessitarianism, is the view that the laws of nature are contingent. It is often coupled with the claim that their contingency is knowable a priori. This paper considers Bird's (2001, 2002, 2005, 2007) arguments for the thesis that, necessarily, salt dissolves in water; and it defends his view against Beebee's (2001) and Psillos's (2002) contingentist objections. A new contingentist objection is offered and several reasons for scepticism about its success are raised. It is concluded that (...)
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  • The Modal Status of Laws: In Defence of a Hybrid View.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (260):509-528.
    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 (...)
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  • Emergentism and the Contingent Solubility of Salt.Lok-Chi Chan - 2018 - Theoria 84 (4):309-324.
    Alexander Bird (2001; 2002; 2007) offers a powerful argument showing that, regardless of whether necessitarianism or contingentism about laws is true, salt necessarily dissolves in water. The argument is that the same laws of nature that are necessary for the constitution of salt necessitate the solubility of salt. This paper shows that Bird’s argument faces a serious objection if the possibility of emergentism – in particular, C. D. Broad’s account – is taken into account. The idea is (roughly) that some (...)
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  • Against A Posteriori Functionalism.Marc A. Moffett - 2010 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (1):83-106.
    There are two constraints on any functionalist solution to the Mind-Body Problem construed as an answer to the question, “What is the relationship between the mental properties and relations (hereafter, simply the mental properties) and physical properties and relations?” The first constraint is that it must actually address the Mind-Body Problem and not simply redefine the debate in terms of other, more tractable, properties (e.g., the species-specific property of having human-pain). Such moves can be seen to be spurious by the (...)
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  • Unexpected a Posteriori Necessary Laws of Nature.Alexander Bird - 2005 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (4):533 – 548.
    In this paper I argue that it is not a priori that all the laws of nature are contingent. I assume that the fundamental laws are contingent and show that some non-trivial, a posteriori, non-basic laws may nonetheless be necessary in the sense of having no counterinstances in any possible world. I consider a law LS (such as 'salt dissolves in water') that concerns a substance S. Kripke's arguments concerning constitution show that the existence of S requires that a certain (...)
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  • Initial Conditions and the 'Open Systems' Argument Against Laws of Nature.Clint Ballinger - 2008 - Metaphysica 9 (1):17-31.
    This article attacks “open systems” arguments that because constant conjunctions are not generally observed in the real world of open systems we should be highly skeptical that universal laws exist. This work differs from other critiques of open system arguments against laws of nature by not focusing on laws themselves, but rather on the inference from open systems. We argue that open system arguments fail for two related reasons; 1) because they cannot account for the “systems” central to their argument (...)
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  • The Space of Possibilities of Dispositional Essentialism.Xavi Lanao - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (11):2813-2839.
    How we define the space of possibilities of dispositional essentialism —that is, the set of possible worlds that are genuinely possible from the point of view of DE—has important consequences for central modal debates such as how to understand the concept of essence or the relation between DE and the necessity of laws of nature. In order to define DE’s space of possibilities we need to explore DE’s consequences regarding both necessity and possibility. Unfortunately, the notion of possibility has not (...)
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  • Emergence, Dependence, and Fundamentality.Olley Pearson - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (3):391-402.
    In a recent paper Barnes proposes to characterize ontological emergence by identifying the emergent entities with those entities which are both fundamental and dependent. Barnes offers characterizations of the notions of fundamentality and dependence, but is cautious about committing to the specifics of these notions. This paper argues that Barnes’s characterization of emergence is problematic in several ways. Firstly, emergence is a relation, and merely delimiting relata of this relation tells us little about it. Secondly, the group of entities delimited (...)
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