Synthese:1-17 (forthcoming)

Reuben Stern
Kansas State University
A number of authors have recently used causal models to develop a promising semantics for non-backtracking counterfactuals. Briggs shows that when this semantics is naturally extended to accommodate right-nested counterfactuals, it invalidates modus ponens, and therefore violates weak centering given the standard Lewis/Stalnaker interpretation of the counterfactual in terms of nearness or similarity of worlds. In this paper, I explore the possibility of abandoning the Lewis/Stalnaker interpretation for some alternative that is better suited to accommodate the causal modeling semantics. I argue that a revision of McGee’s semantics can accommodate CM semantics without sacrificing weak centering, and that CM semantics can therefore be situated within a general semantics for counterfactuals that is based on the nearness or similarity of worlds.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-021-03265-7
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