The consequence argument and the possibility of the laws of nature being violated

Philosophia:1-15 (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Brian Cutter objected to the consequence argument due to its dependence on the principle that miracle workers are metaphysically impossible. A miracle worker is someone who has the ability to act in a way such that the laws of nature would be violated. While there is something to the thought that agents like us do not have this ability, Cutter claims that there is no compelling reason to regard miracle workers as metaphysically impossible. However, the paper contends that miracle workers are indeed impossible according to well-known theories concerning the laws of nature. This result highlights the reliance of the consequence argument on a plausible premise, which is widely accepted by proponents of non-Humean views of laws. The paper also provides a way to explain away the intuition that miracle workers are possible, but this has the upshot that a recent, two-dimensional formulation of the consequence argument is unsound.

Author's Profile

Pedro Merlussi
Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro

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