Making a Difference

Well, one way to put the difference between laws and accidental regularities is to say that they differ with respect to their ‘modal status’. Modal status has to do with what’s necessary or possible – what could and could not be the case. For example, it’s a contingent truth that I just ate a burrito – I could easily have had tacos instead, or pizza, or nothing at all. Come to think of it, the world could have panned out in such a way that my parents never met, in which case I wouldn’t have existed at all. By contrast, it’s (arguably) a necessary truth that 2+2 = 4. There’s no way things might have panned out such that it would have been false that 2+2 = 4. Continuing the End Times series, Richard Marshall interviews Helen Beebee.

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