Against Counterfactual Miracles

Philosophical Review 125 (2):241-286 (2016)

Authors
Cian Dorr
New York University
Abstract
This paper considers how counterfactuals should be evaluated on the assumption that determinism is true. I argue against Lewis's influential view that the actual laws of nature would have been false if something had happened that never actually happened, and in favour of the competing view that history would have been different all the way back. I argue that we can do adequate justice to our ordinary practice of relying on a wide range of historical truths in evaluating counterfactuals by saying that, in typical cases, history would have been only *very slightly* different until shortly before the relevant time. The paper also draws some connections between the puzzle about counterfactuals under determinism and the debate about whether determinism entails that no-one can ever do otherwise than they in fact do.
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DOI 10.1215/00318108-3453187
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References found in this work BETA

Making Things Happen. A Theory of Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):233-249.
The Metaphysics within Physics.Tim Maudlin - 2007 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 69 (3):610-611.
Counterfactuals.D. Lewis - 1973 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 27 (4):403-405.

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Modal Objectivity1.Justin Clarke‐Doane - 2019 - Noûs 53 (2):266-295.

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