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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Citations of this work BETA

Intrinsic Properties and Relations.Jan Plate - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (8):783-853.
Knowledge, Counterfactuals, and Determinism.Jeremy Goodman - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (9):2275-2278.
On the Notion of Free Will in the Free Will Theorem.Klaas Landsman - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 57:98-103.

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