Best Before Date Necessity: A Reply to Psillos
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This discussion paper is a reply to Stathis Psillos’ paper “Induction and Natural Necessities” (J Gen Philos Sci 48(3):327–340, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10838-017-9366-z), published in this journal. In that paper, he attempts to refute David Armstrong’s solution to the problem of induction. To accomplish this desideratum, he proposes that the best explanation for our observed regularities is a sort of “best before date” necessity. That is, necessary connections may break down and are not by default timeless. He develops arguments against my (Castro, Teorema 33(3):67–82, 2014) defence of the necessitarian solution regarding a previous paper by Beebee (Noûs 45(3):504–527, 2011. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0068.2010.00821.x). He alleges that (a) best before date necessity is no worse than timeless necessity; (b) his proposal does not imply any further inductive generalisation to timeless necessity; and (c) inductive inferences are justified. In this discussion paper, I provide arguments against these three claims.
KeywordsInduction Timeless necessity Time-limited necessity Inference to the best explanation Laws of nature
I am very grateful to Carl Hoefer and an anonymous reviewer of this journal whose detailed comments have substantially improved previous versions of this paper. I am also grateful to LOGOS, University of Barcelona, for providing a friendly atmosphere to my sabbatical visit.
This work was supported by grant SFRH/BSAB/128040/2016, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Programa Operacional Capital Humano.
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