Causal modeling, reversibility, and logics of counterfactuals

Dissertation, Lingnan University (2012)

This thesis studies Judea Pearl’s logic of counterfactuals derived from the causal modeling framework, in comparison to the influential Stanlnaker-Lewis counterfactual logics. My study focuses on a characteristic principle in Pearl’s logic, named reversibility. The principle, as Pearl pointed out, goes beyond Lewis’s logic. Indeed, it also goes beyond the stronger logic of Stanlnaker, which is more analogous to Pearl’s logic. The first result of this thesis is an extension of Stanlnaker’s logic incorporating reversibility. It will be observed that the translation of reversibility from Pearl’s language to the standard language for conditional logic deserves some attention. In particular, a straightforward translation following Pearl’s suggestion would render reversibility incompatible with Stanlnaker’s logic. A new translation of reversibility will be proposed, and an extension of Stanlnaker’s logic with the inclusion of the translated reversibility will be investigated. More importantly, it will be shown that the extended Stanlnaker’s logic is sound and complete with respect to a modified Stanlnaker’s semantics. The extension of Stanlnaker’s logic has an interesting implication. Zhang, Lam, and de Clercq have shown that special case of reversibility, despite its name, actually states an important kind of irreversibility: counterfactual dependence between distinct events is irreversible. In other words, reversibility entails that there is no cycle of counterfactual dependence altogether generalizations of reversibility. However, as shown in Zhang et al., Pearls’ logic does not rule out cycles of counterfactual dependence altogether. It in fact allows cycles that involve three or more distinct events. This is peculiar because the status of cyclic counterfactual dependence seems no more metaphysically secure than that of mutual counterfactual dependence. This consideration leads to an exploration of logics that rule out all cycles of counterfactual dependence. A surprising result is that the extension of Stanlnaker’s logic is precisely a logic of this sort.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 40,000
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Metaphysics Within Physics.Tim Maudlin - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Causation, Prediction, and Search.Peter Spirtes, Clark Glymour & Richard Scheines - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1):113-123.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Journal of Philosophy 85 (1):42-47.
Making Things Happen. A Theory of Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):233-249.

View all 70 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

A Lewisian Logic of Causal Counterfactuals.Jiji Zhang - 2013 - Minds and Machines 23 (1):77-93.
From Causal Models to Counterfactual Structures.Joseph Y. Halpern - 2013 - Review of Symbolic Logic 6 (2):305-322.
Interventionist Counterfactuals.Rachael Briggs - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (1):139-166.
The Enigma of Reversibility and the Genesis of Sense in Merleau-Ponty.David Morris - 2010 - Continental Philosophy Review 43 (2):141-165.
Generalized Quantifiers in Dependence Logic.Fredrik Engström - 2012 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 21 (3):299-324.
Counterfactuals and Updates as Inverse Modalities.Mark Ryan & Pierre-Yves Schobbens - 1997 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 6 (2):123-146.


Added to PP index

Total views
12 ( #607,085 of 2,236,191 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #462,909 of 2,236,191 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature