David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophia Scientiae 9 (1):83-126 (2005)
Ordinarily counterfactuals are seen as making statements about states of aﬀairs, albeit ones that hold in merely possible or alternative worlds. Thus analyzed, nearly all counterfactuals turn out to be incoherent. Any counterfactual, thus analyzed, requires that there be a metaphysically (not just epistemically) possible world w where the laws are the same as here, and where almost all of the facts are the same as here. (The factual diﬀerences relate to the antecedent and consequent of the counter-factual.) But, as I show, this requirement typically involves the positing of worlds whose necessary non-existence can be shown by fairly elementary deductions. Further, the possible-worlds analysis of counterfactuals is guilty of covert circularity. For, thus analyzed, counterfactuals can only be understood in terms of laws of nature (the laws that apply here are assumed in the hypothetical world - except in the atypical case where the counterfactual is also a counter-nomic). But the concept of a law cannot itself be deﬁned except in terms of the notion of a counterfactual (a law is given by a counterfactual-supporting proposition). I give a purely epistemic analysis of counterfactuals, arguing that they are crypto-probability propositions. I also argue that the relevant kind of probability can be deﬁned wholly in terms of what has happened (not what would happen and not even what must happen in a nomic sense). So my analysis isn’t guilty of any kind of circularity.
|Keywords||counterfactuals modality probability|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
S. Barker (1999). Counterfactuals, Probabilistic Counterfactuals and Causation. Mind 108 (431):427-469.
Stephen Barker (2011). Can Counterfactuals Really Be About Possible Worlds? Noûs 45 (3):557-576.
S. Barker (2003). A Dilemma for the Counterfactual Analysis of Causation. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (1):62 – 77.
Phillip Goggans (1992). Do the Closest Counterfactual Worlds Contain Miracles? Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 73 (2):137 - 149.
Igal Kvart (1994). Counterfactuals: Ambiguities, True Premises, and Knowledge. Synthese 100 (1):133 - 164.
Heather Demarest (2012). Do Counterfactuals Ground the Laws of Nature? A Critique of Lange. Philosophy of Science 79 (3):333-344.
Eric Swanson (2010). On Scope Relations Between Quantifiers and Epistemic Modals. Journal of Semantics 27 (4):529-540.
Alexander R. Pruss (2003). David Lewis's Counterfactual Arrow of Time. Noûs 37 (4):606–637.
Ivar Hannikainen (2011). Might-Counterfactuals and the Principle of Conditional Excluded Middle. Disputatio 4 (30):127-149.
Richard Otte (2006). Counterfactuals and Epistemic Probability. Synthese 152 (1):81 - 93.
Barak Krakauer (2012). Counterpossibles. Dissertation, University of Massachusetts
Tuomas E. Tahko (2012). Counterfactuals and Modal Epistemology. Grazer Philosophische Studien 86 (1):93–115.
Added to index2012-09-29
Total downloads43 ( #38,844 of 1,101,122 )
Recent downloads (6 months)6 ( #44,290 of 1,101,122 )
How can I increase my downloads?