Laws and the Completeness of the Fundamental

In Mark Jago (ed.), Reality Making. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 11-37 (2016)
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Abstract

Any explanation of one fact in terms of another will appeal to some sort of connection between the two. In a causal explanation, the connection might be a causal mechanism or law. But not all explanations are causal, and neither are all explanatory connections. For example, in explaining the fact that a given barn is red in terms of the fact that it is crimson, we might appeal to a non-causal connection between things’ being crimson and their being red. Many such connections, like this one, are general rather than particular. I call these general non-causal explanatory connections 'laws of metaphysics'. In this paper I argue that some of these laws are to be found in the world at its most fundamental level, forming a bridge between fundamental reality and everything else. It is only by admitting fundamental laws, I suggest, that we can do justice to the explanatory relationship between what is fundamental and what is not. And once these laws are admitted, we are able to provide a nice resolution of the puzzle of why there are any non-fundamental facts in the first place.

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Martin Glazier
Scripps College

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