A Refutation of the Lewis-Stalnaker Analysis of Counterfactuals

Metaphysica 17 (1):109-129 (2016)

Authors
Marcus Arvan
University of Tampa
Abstract
The standard philosophical analysis of counterfactual conditionals—the Lewis-Stalnaker analysis—analyzes the truth-conditions of counterfactuals in terms of nearby possible worlds. This paper demonstrates that this analysis is false. §1 shows that it is a serious epistemic and metaphysical possibility that our “world” is a massive computer simulation, and that if the Lewis-Stalnaker analysis of counterfactuals is correct, then it should extend seamlessly to the case that our world is a computer simulation, in the form of a possible-simulation semantics. §2 then shows, however, that a Lewis-Stalnaker-style possible-simulation semantics clearly fails as an analysis of the truth-conditions of counterfactuals in two types of simulated worlds: Humean Simulations and Necessitarian simulations. §3 then considers and answers several objections to the argument. Finally, §4 draws several skeptical, but compelling lessons about counterfactuals from the argument.
Keywords counterfactuals  modality  possible worlds  causation  simulation
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1515/mp-2016-0008
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 44,340
External links

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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Embedded Counterfactuals and Possible Worlds Semantics.Charles B. Cross - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (3):665-673.
Conjunction, Connection and Counterfactuals.Chaoan He - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (4):705-719.
Counterfactuals Revisited.Joseph Fulda - 1996 - Sorites 5:35-38.
Free Choice Counterfactual Donkeys.R. van Rooij - 2006 - Journal of Semantics 23 (4):383-402.
Counterfactuals as Strict Conditionals.Andrea Iacona - 2015 - Disputatio 7 (41):165-191.
The Stalnaker-Lewis Approach to Counterfactuals.Michael Tooley - 2003 - Journal of Philosophy 100 (7):371 - 377.
An Argument for Conjunction Conditionalization.Lee Walters & Robert Williams - 2013 - Review of Symbolic Logic 6 (4):573-588.
On Counterpossibles.Jens Christian Bjerring - 2013 - Philosophical Studies (2):1-27.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2016-06-30

Total views
98 ( #83,707 of 2,271,592 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #110,804 of 2,271,592 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature