Hiddleston’s Causal Modeling Semantics and the Distinction between Forward-Tracking and Backtracking Counterfactuals

Studies in Logic 10 (1):79-94 (2017)
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Some cases show that counterfactual conditionals (‘counterfactuals’ for short) are inherently ambiguous, equivocating between forward-tracking and backtracking counterfactu- als. Elsewhere, I have proposed a causal modeling semantics, which takes this phenomenon to be generated by two kinds of causal manipulations. (Lee 2015; Lee 2016) In an important paper (Hiddleston 2005), Eric Hiddleston offers a different causal modeling semantics, which he claims to be able to explain away the inherent ambiguity of counterfactuals. In this paper, I discuss these two semantic treatments and argue that my (bifurcated) semantics is theoretically more promising than Hiddleston’s (unified) semantics.

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Kok Yong Lee
National Chung Cheng University


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