Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Following From" Addendum

Ah, this is a perfect example of why I should actually read philosophical work that has already been done on subjects that I wonder about.

My last post, Following From, concerned itself (loosely, and among other things) with the nature of metaphysical laws. However, I uncritically assumed a view analogous to the regularity theory of laws of nature--as opposed to the necessitarian theory. That is, I took it for granted that laws (though of course I have in mind metaphysical laws, not just those in the physical world) are simply descriptions of behavior rather than forces which "govern" or "command" objects to act in particular ways.

Yet, while I took the regularity view for granted, I speculated about what it is that "causes" or "makes" things behave the way they do, while at the same time rejecting the necessitarian view which would--we hope--give just that kind of explanation. Now, this isn't really a solution to whatever problem I had in mind, because I would still be inclined to ask of necessitarians, "But what, in turn, makes necessitarian laws hold the sway they do?", thus leading us obnoxiously into a typical infinite regress. But my point is that if I'd already been aware of these existing philosophical positions, and read at least a modicum about them, I would have had a basis from which to work when asking my own questions--it may not have furnished me with answers right off the bat, but I believe that marking this distinction has helped to clarify the matter in my mind.

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