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Brute Facts$
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Elly Vintiadis and Constantinos Mekios

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198758600

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198758600.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 September 2021

Must There be Brute Facts?

Must There be Brute Facts?

(p.19) 2 Must There be Brute Facts?
Brute Facts

John Heil

Oxford University Press

What are brute facts? The question admits of two interpretations. First, what is it for a fact to be brute? Second, which facts, which ways the universe is, are brute? One possibility is that brute facts are optional, unconstrained by the nature of reality. In that case, the class of brute facts could be far more limited than is commonly thought and indeed possibly nonexistent. This possibility remains invisible so long as we persist in a latent Humean bias. One manifestation of this bias is our willingness to address questions about the modal status of ways the universe is via the apparatus of alternative ‘possible’ worlds. That apparatus, far from being an innocent vehicle for the formulation of modal claims, carries the implication that contingency is unproblematic. But contingency is epistemically fraught, a point that can be illustrated by means of a careful consideration of the nature of causal relations.

Keywords:   brute fact, contingency, modality, laws, reality

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