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On metaphysically necessary laws from physics

Linnemann, Niels (2020) On metaphysically necessary laws from physics. [Preprint]

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Abstract

How does metaphysical necessity relate to the modal force often associated with natural laws (natural necessity)? Fine (2002) argues that natural necessity can neither be obtained from metaphysical necessity via forms of restriction nor of relativization — and therefore pleads for modal pluralism concerning natural and metaphysical necessity.
Wolff (2013) aims at providing illustrative examples in support of applying Fine’s view to the laws of nature with specific recourse to the laws of physics: On the one hand, Wolff takes it that equations of motion can count as examples of physical laws that are only naturally but not metaphysically necessary. On the other hand, Wolff argues that a certain conservation law obtainable via Noether’s second theorem is an instance of a metaphysically necessary physical law.
I show how Wolff’s example for a putatively metaphysically necessary conservation law fails but argue that so-called topological currents can nevertheless count as metaphysically necessary conservation laws carrying physical content. I conclude with a remark on employing physics to answer questions in metaphysics.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Linnemann, Nielsniels.linnemann@unige.ch
Keywords: metaphysical necessity; essence; Fine; Noether theorem
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Depositing User: Niels Linnemann
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2020 01:16
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2020 01:16
Item ID: 16975
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Physics > Symmetries/Invariances
Date: 3 March 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16975

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