Counterfactuals and causality

Journal of Semantics 1 (2):147-185 (1982)
There are three parts to this paper. In the first part the difference between hypothetical and counterfactual conditionals is examined. Both Adams's argument that indicative and subjunctive conditionals differ in the degree to which they are justified and Lewis's contention that counterfactuals differ from hypotheticals in that they fail to contrapose are both shown to be unfounded. Standard tests confirm Karttunen's claim that the difference lies not in the truth conditions but in the falsity of the antecedent being presupposed and the truth value of the consequent being a conversational implicature. There is also a pragmatic difference: counterfactuals are more difficult to verify. In the second part 4 solutions to the counterfactual problem are criticized partly in light of the differences found in the first part. Goldstick's extension of Goodman's classic solution is shown to be an incomplete algorithim. Lewis's possible world solution reduces the problem to finding a criterion by which to order possible worlds. Krat-zer's solution, also in the possible worlds tradition, requires a heuristic for partitioning propositions. It is only the older solution of Rescher and Simon, based on causal ordering, that is adequate for causally based counterfactuals with false consequents. In the last part of the paper Simon and Rescher's method is extended to accidental counterfactuals and counterfactuals with true consequents
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/jos/1.2.147
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 26,641
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
Causality Without Counterfactuals.Wesley C. Salmon - 1994 - Philosophy of Science 61 (2):297-312.
Chance and Counterfactuals.John Hawthorne - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (2):396–405.
Causes, Conditions and Counterfactuals.Tomasz Bigaj - 2005 - Axiomathes 15 (4):599-619.
A Dilemma for the Counterfactual Analysis of Causation.S. Barker - 2003 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (1):62 – 77.
Counterfactual Scorekeeping.Anthony S. Gillies - 2007 - Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (3):329 - 360.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

31 ( #163,666 of 2,158,107 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #198,258 of 2,158,107 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums