The entropy theory of counterfactuals

Philosophy of Science 69 (1):82-104 (2002)
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Abstract

I assess the thesis that counterfactual asymmetries are explained by an asymmetry of the global entropy at the temporal boundaries of the universe, by developing a method of evaluating counterfactuals that includes, as a background assumption, the low entropy of the early universe. The resulting theory attempts to vindicate the common practice of holding the past mostly fixed under counterfactual supposition while at the same time allowing the counterfactual's antecedent to obtain by a natural physical development. Although the theory has some success in evaluating a wide variety of ordinary counterfactuals, it fails as an explanation of counterfactual asymmetry.

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Douglas Kutach
Rutgers University - New Brunswick (PhD)

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