By Brian Skyrms
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Additional resources for Causal Necessity: A Pragmatic Investigation of the Necessity of Laws
16 That raises a number of questions. Exactly what is the difference between the alien design and the supernatural design cases? And exactly why would that difference be scientiﬁcally relevant? And on exactly what basis should scientiﬁc prohibitions rest? Those questions will be taken up in the next several chapters. Conclusion There is more to be said here, but it seems clear that the concept of ﬁnite design—of deliberate, intentional, (ﬁnite) agent activity moving objects, processes, or events into 24 Science and Finite Design channels along which nature left to herself would not direct them, toward patterns they otherwise would not exemplify—is scientiﬁcally legitimate and often descriptively and explanatorily essential.
29 But in any situation driven solely by natural processes and in which there is no supernatural agent intervention there will obviously be no relevant nomic discontinuities either. Thus, in a cosmos where supernatural agent activity of the relevant sort occurs only in the initial deﬁning of the structure and operation of nature within that cosmos, there will be no causal or explanatory gaps in nature or nature’s history that require ﬁlling by supernatural agent activity. Equally obviously, if there are no interventions or relevant nomic gaps in the natural world, there will be nothing contranomic either.
It might be of a sort we were incapable of grasping as counterﬂow, or it might involve some law the existence of which we did not (or could not) suspect, or it might be so subtle as to be beyond our capacity even to notice. But there is no requirement that either the counterﬂow or the artifactuality in question be unrecognizable by humans or other ﬁnite beings. Consider again the Martian titanium cube discussed earlier. If aliens could produce one, so could a supernatural being. A supernatural agent might even employ means available to those aliens in producing it.
Causal Necessity: A Pragmatic Investigation of the Necessity of Laws by Brian Skyrms