Eternal Worlds and the Best System Account of Laws

In Valia Allori (ed.), Statistical Mechanics and Scientific Explanation: Determinism, Indeterminism and Laws of Nature. World Scientific (2020)
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In this paper we apply the popular Best System Account of laws to typical eternal worlds – both classical eternal worlds and eternal worlds of the kind posited by popular contemporary cosmological theories. We show that, according to the Best System Account, such worlds will have no laws that meaningfully constrain boundary conditions. It’s generally thought that lawful constraints on boundary conditions are required to avoid skeptical arguments. Thus the lack of such laws given the Best System Account may seem like a severe problem for the view. We show, however, that at eternal worlds, lawful constraints on boundary conditions do little to help fend off skeptical worries. So with respect to handling these skeptical worries, the proponent of the Best System Account is no worse off than their competitors.
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First archival date: 2019-06-03
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