What Should I Believe About What Would Have Been the Case?

Journal of Philosophical Logic 44 (1):81-110 (2015)

Authors
Franz Huber
University of Toronto, St. George
Abstract
The question I am addressing in this paper is the following: how is it possible to empirically test, or confirm, counterfactuals? After motivating this question in Section 1, I will look at two approaches to counterfactuals, and at how counterfactuals can be empirically tested, or confirmed, if at all, on these accounts in Section 2. I will then digress into the philosophy of probability in Section 3. The reason for this digression is that I want to use the way observable absolute and relative frequencies, two empirical notions, are used to empirically test, or confirm, hypotheses about objective chances, a metaphysical notion, as a role-model. Specifically, I want to use this probabilistic account of the testing of chance hypotheses as a role-model for the account of the testing of counterfactuals, another metaphysical notion, that I will present in Sections 4 to 8. I will conclude by comparing my proposal to one non-probabilistic and one probabilistic alternative in Section 9.
Keywords Counterfactuals  Conditional belief  Chance  Credence  Confirmation  Probability measures  Ranking functions
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DOI 10.1007/s10992-014-9314-x
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References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Harvard University Press.
Causality.Judea Pearl - 2009 - Cambridge University Press.
Causation, Prediction, and Search.Peter Spirtes, Clark Glymour & Richard Scheines - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1):113-123.

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Citations of this work BETA

Ranking Theory.Franz Huber - 2019 - In Richard Pettigrew & Jonathan Weisberg (eds.), The Open Handbook of Formal Epistemology. PhilPapers Foundation. pp. 397-436.
Why Follow the Royal Rule?Franz Huber - 2017 - Synthese 194 (5).

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