David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Thinking and Reasoning 12 (2):235 – 255 (2006)
We report two Experiments to compare counterfactual thoughts about how an outcome could have been different and causal explanations about why the outcome occurred. Experiment 1 showed that people generate counterfactual thoughts more often about controllable than uncontrollable events, whereas they generate causal explanations more often about unexpected than expected events. Counterfactual thoughts focus on specific factors, whereas causal explanations focus on both general and specific factors. Experiment 2 showed that in their spontaneous counterfactual thoughts, people focus on normal events just as often as exceptional events, unlike in directed counterfactual thoughts. The findings are consistent with the suggestion that counterfactual thoughts tend to focus on how a specific unwanted outcome could have been prevented, whereas causal explanations tend to provide more general causal information that enables future understanding, prediction, and intervention in a wide range of situations.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
David Pineda (2011). Non-Committal Causal Explanations. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (2):147-170.
Jonathan Waskan (2011). Mechanistic Explanation at the Limit. Synthese 183 (3):389-408.
David R. Mandel (2003). Effect of Counterfactual and Factual Thinking on Causal Judgements. Thinking and Reasoning 9 (3):245 – 265.
Jonathan Kvanvig (1987). On Lemke's Defence of a Causal Basing Requirement. Analysis 47 (3):162 - 167.
Stefania Pighin, Ruth M. J. Byrne, Donatella Ferrante, Michel Gonzalez & Vittorio Girotto (2011). Counterfactual Thoughts About Experienced, Observed, and Narrated Events. Thinking and Reasoning 17 (2):197 - 211.
Danilo Suster (2001). Semifactuals and Epiphenomenalism. Acta Analytica 16 (26):23-43.
Philippe Huneman (2012). Natural Selection: A Case for the Counterfactual Approach. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 76 (2):171-194.
Rebecca Schweder (1999). Causal Explanation and Explanatory Selection. Synthese 120 (1):115-124.
Jig-Chuen Lee (1986). Causal Condition, Causal Asymmetry, and the Counterfactual Analysis of Causation. Synthese 67 (2):213 - 223.
Rachel McCloy & Ruth M. J. Byrne (2002). Semifactual ''Even If'' Thinking. Thinking and Reasoning 8 (1):41 – 67.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads16 ( #154,465 of 1,699,829 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #206,271 of 1,699,829 )
How can I increase my downloads?