The laws of nature have come a long way since the time of Newton: quantum mechanics and relativity have given us good reasons to take seriously the possibility of laws which may be non-local, atemporal, ‘all-at-once,’ retrocausal, or in some other way not well-suited to the standard dynamical time evolution paradigm. Laws of this kind can be accommodated within a Humean approach to lawhood, but many extant non-Humean approaches face significant challenges when we try to apply them to laws outside the time evolution picture. Thus for proponents of non-Humean approaches to lawhood there is a clear need for a novel non-Humean account which is capable of accommodating these sorts of laws. In this paper we propose such an account, characterizing lawhood in terms of constraints, which are understood as a form of modal structure. We demonstrate that our proposed realist account can indeed accommodate a large variety of laws outside the time evolution paradigm, and describe some possible applications to important philosophical problems.
Adlam, E. Laws of Nature as Constraints. Found Phys 52, 28 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10701-022-00546-0