The Metaphysical Consequences of Counterfactual Skepticism

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):399-432 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

A series of recent arguments purport to show that most counterfactuals of the form if A had happened then C would have happened are not true. These arguments pose a challenge to those of us who think that counterfactual discourse is a useful part of ordinary conversation, of philosophical reasoning, and of scientific inquiry. Either we find a way to revise the semantics for counterfactuals in order to avoid these arguments, or we find a way to ensure that the relevant counterfactuals, while not true, are still assertible. I argue that regardless of which of these two strategies we choose, the natural ways of implementing these strategies all share a surprising consequence: they commit us to a particular metaphysical view about chance.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,662

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Modal Skepticism and Counterfactual Knowledge.Juhani Yli-Vakkuri - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (3):605-623.
Elusive Counterfactuals.Karen S. Lewis - 2016 - Noûs 50 (2):286-313.
Possible World Semantics and True-True Counterfactuals.Lee Walters - 2016 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (3):322-346.
Euthanasia and Counterfactual Consent.Deborah Ruth Barnbaum - 1996 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst
On Counterfactual Propositions.George G. S. Murphy - 1969 - History and Theory 9:14-38.
Embedded Counterfactuals and Possible Worlds Semantics.Charles Cross - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (3):665-673.
Against Counterfactual Miracles.Cian Dorr - 2016 - Philosophical Review 125 (2):241-286.
Counterpossibles.Barak Krakauer - 2012 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts
Safety and the True–True Problem.Jon Cogburn & Jeffrey W. Roland - 2013 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (2):246-267.
Safety and the True–True Problem.Jeffrey W. Roland Jon Cogburn - 2013 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (2):246-267.
Quantum Counterfactuals and Locality.Robert B. Griffiths - 2012 - Foundations of Physics 42 (5):674-684.
New Foundations for Counterfactuals.Franz Huber - 2014 - Synthese 191 (10):2167-2193.

Analytics

Added to PP
2015-11-25

Downloads
153 (#81,375)

6 months
7 (#109,086)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Nina Emery
Mount Holyoke College

Citations of this work

Chance and Determinism.Nina Emery - 2022 - In Eleanor Knox & Alastair Wilson (eds.), Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Physics. Routledge.
Difference-making and deterministic chance.Harjit Bhogal - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (7):2215-2235.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Causation.David Lewis - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (17):556-567.
Time and Chance.David Z. Albert - 2000 - Harvard University Press.
Philosophical Papers Vol. II.David K. Lewis (ed.) - 1986 - Oxford University Press.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Philosophy of Science 42 (3):341-344.

View all 34 references / Add more references