The myth of the categorical counterfactual

Philosophical Studies 144 (2):281 - 296 (2009)
I aim to show that standard theories of counterfactuals are mistaken, not in detail, but in principle, and I aim to say what form a tenable theory must take. Standard theories entail a categorical interpretation of counterfactuals, on which to state that, if it were that A, it would be that C is to state something, not relative to any supposition or hypothesis, but categorically. On the rival suppositional interpretation, to state that, if it were that A, it would be that C is to state that it would be that C relative to the supposition that it were that A. The two interpretations make incompatible predictions concerning the correct evaluation of counterfactuals. I argue that the suppositional interpretation makes the correct prediction.
Keywords Counterfactuals  Conditionals  Subjunctive conditionals
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DOI 10.2307/27734444
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