Counterfactuals, causation, and preemption

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
A counterfactual is a conditional statement in the subjunctive mood. For example: If Suzy hadn’t thrown the rock, then the bottle wouldn’t have shattered. The philosophical importance of counterfactuals stems from the fact that they seem to be closely connected to the concept of causation. Thus it seems that the truth of the above conditional is just what is required for Suzy’s throw to count as a cause of the bottle’s shattering. If philosophers were reluctant to exploit this idea prior to 1970, it was because of a widespread feeling that the truth-conditions of the counterfactual conditional were not sufficiently well understood. The development of a formal semantics for counterfactuals by Robert Stalnaker [1968] and David Lewis [1973b] stands as a major recent achievement in philosophical logic.
Keywords
No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories
PhilPapers/Archive ID
COLCCA-2
Upload history
Archival date: 2013-01-04
View other versions
Added to PP index
2009-09-17

Total views
611 ( #9,157 of 2,444,497 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
65 ( #10,000 of 2,444,497 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.