Physically Contingent Laws and Counterfactual Support

Published: Philosopher's Imprint 8(8), 2008

Abstract: The generalizations found in biology, psychology, sociology, and other high level sciences are typically physically contingent. You might conclude that they play only a limited role in scientific investigation, on the grounds that physically contingent generalizations offer no or only feeble counterfactual support. But the link between contingency and counterfactual support is more complex than is commonly supposed. A certain class of physically contingent generalizations, comprising many, perhaps the vast majority, of those in the high level sciences, provides strong counterfactual support of just the sort that appears to be scientifically important. This paper explains why.

See the paper at Philosopher's Imprint.