“Laws of Nature as Constraints”
Emily Adlam (Western University)

September 6, 2022, 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Department of Philosophy, Harvard University

United States

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


Harvard University

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Abstract: The laws of nature have come a long way since the time of Newton: quantum mechanics and relativity have given us good reasons to take seriously the possibility of laws which may be non-local, atemporal, `all-at-once,' retrocausal, or in some other way not well-suited to the dynamical time evolution paradigm. But many extant realist approaches to lawhood are based on the paradigm of dynamical laws, and thus they face significant challenges when we try to apply them to laws outside the time evolution picture. I will argue that an appropriate generalization of lawhood can be given by conceptualizing it in terms of modal structure, and I will present a general framework in which the modal structure associated with a wide class of possible laws can be expressed and studied. I will then describe several interesting applications of this framework, showing how it can be used to generalize concepts like determinism and objective chance beyond the dynamical paradigm.

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September 6, 2022, 12:00pm EST

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