Journal Article

Determinism and Modality

Carolyn Brighouse

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 48, issue 4, pages 465-481
Published in print December 1997 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online December 1997 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI:
Determinism and Modality

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The hole argument contends that a substantivalist has to view General Relativity as an indeterministic theory. A recent form of substantivalist reply to the hole argument has urged the substantivalist to identify qualitatively isomorphic possible worlds. Gordon Belot has argued that this form of substantivalism is unable to capture other genuine violations of determinism. This paper argues that Belot's alleged examples of indeterminism should not be seen as a violation of a form of determinism that physicists are interested in. What is undetermined in these examples, and in the hole argument, is a haecceitistic feature of the world. It is argued that these features are not among those we should expect the physical state of the world to determine. This vindicates the substantivalist reply to the hole argument, but also illustrates that philosophers of physics cannot ignore metaphysics when characterizing determinism for a physical theory.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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