The Powerlessness of Necessity

Noûs 44 (4):725-739 (2010)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
This paper concerns anti-Humean intuitions about connections in nature. It argues for the existence of a de re link that is not necessity.Some anti-Humeans tacitly assume that metaphysical necessity can be used for all sorts of anti-Humean desires. Metaphysical necessity is thought to stick together whatever would be loose and separate in a Hume world, as if it were a kind of universal superglue.I argue that this is not feasible. Metaphysical necessity might connect synchronically co-existent properties—kinds and their essential features, for example—but it is difficult to see how it could also serve as the binding force for successions of events. That is, metaphysical necessity seems not to be fit for diachronic, causal affairs in which causal laws, causation, or dispositions are involved. A different anti-Humean connection in nature has to do that job.My arguments focus mainly on a debate which has been the battleground for Humean vs. anti-Humean intuitions for many decades—namely, the analysis of dispositional predicates—yet I believe (but do not argue here) that the arguments generalise to causation and causal laws straightforwardly
PhilPapers/Archive ID
SCHTPO-36
Revision history
Archival date: 2015-11-21
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
Counterfactuals.Lewis, David K.

View all 41 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Double Prevention and Powers.Mumford, Stephen & Anjum, Rani Lill

View all 14 citations / Add more citations

Added to PP index
2009-04-28

Total views
638 ( #3,558 of 39,929 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
48 ( #10,561 of 39,929 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.