Citations of:
On the metaphysical contingency of laws of nature
In John Hawthorne & Tamar Szabó Gendler (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 309336 (2002)
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This paper challenges the Kripkean interpretation of a posteriori necessities. It will be demonstrated, by an analysis of classic examples, that the modal content of supposed a posteriori necessities is more complicated than the Kripkean line suggests. We will see that further research is needed concerning the a priori principles underlying all a posteriori necessities. In the course of this analysis it will emerge that the modal content of a posteriori necessities can be best described in terms of a Finean (...) 

Many authors have argued in favour of an ontology of properties as powers, and it has been widely argued that this ontology allows us to address certain philosophical problems in novel and illuminating ways, for example, causation, representation, intentionality, free will and liberty. I argue that the ontology of powers, even if successful as an account of fundamental natural properties, does not provide the insight claimed as regards the aforementioned nonfundamental phenomena. I illustrate this argument by criticizing the powers theory (...) 



The practice of thought experimentation plays a central role in contemporary philosophical methodology. Many philosophers rely on thought experimentation as their primary and even sole procedure for testing theories about the natures of properties and relations. This test procedure involves entertaining hypothetical cases in imaginative thought and then undergoing intuitions about the distribution of properties and relations in them. A theory’s comporting with an intuition is treated as evidence in favour of it; but a clash is treated as evidence against (...) 

Recent work on probability in the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics yields a decisiontheoretic derivation of David Lewis’ Principal Principle, and hence a general metaphysical theory of probability; part 1 is a discussion of this remarkable result. I defend the claim that the ‘subjective uncertainty’ principle is required for the derivation to succeed, arguing that it amounts to a theoretical identification of chance. In part 2, I generalize this account, and suggest that the Everett interpretation, in combination with a plausible (...) 

In this piece, I advocate and motivate a new understanding of thought experiments, which avoids problems with the rival accounts of Brown and Norton. 

In a lot of domains in metaphysics the tacit assumption has been that whichever metaphysical principles turn out to be true, these will be necessarily true. Let us call necessitarianism about some domain the thesis that the right metaphysics of that domain is necessary. Necessitarianism has flourished. In the philosophy of maths we find it held that if mathematical objects exist, then they do of necessity. Mathematical Platonists affirm the necessary existence of mathematical objects (see for instance Hale and Wright (...) 

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 (...) 

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 (...) 

