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Modality and Production in Laws of Nature

Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 3:30 pm – 5:10 pm

Hume held the view that “efficacy, agency, power, force, energy, necessity, connexion, and productive quality, are […] nearly synonymous.” (Hume, Treatise, p. 157) The notion of production has been equated with or has been analysed in terms of necessity ever since.
Focusing on (diachronic, dynamic) laws of nature, this paper is an attempt to explicate a notion of production which is free of modal connotations. However, second, it also aims to develop ways in which a (non-modally conceived) production can account for the (nomological) necessity with which laws govern their instances. The leitmotif for the latter idea parallels the Finean move to ground metaphysical necessity in essence rather than vice versa: production is to nomological necessity what essence is said to be for metaphysical necessity.