Causal Modeling Semantics for Counterfactuals with Disjunctive Antecedents


Causal Modeling Semantics (CMS, e.g., Galles and Pearl 1998; Pearl 2000; Halpern 2000) is a powerful framework for evaluating counterfactuals whose antecedent is a conjunction of atomic formulas. We extend CMS to an evaluation of the probability of counterfactuals with disjunctive antecedents, and more generally, to counterfactuals whose antecedent is an arbitrary Boolean combination of atomic formulas. Our main idea is to assign a probability to a counterfactual (A ∨ B) > C at a causal model M as a weighted average of the probability of C in those submodels that truthmake A∨ B (Briggs 2012; Fine 2016, 2017). The weights of the submodels are given by the inverse distance to the original model M, based on a distance metric proposed by Eva, Stern, and Hartmann (2019). Apart from solving a major problem in the epistemology of counterfactuals, our paper shows how work in semantics, causal inference and formal epistemology can be fruitfully combined.

Author Profiles

Giuliano Rosella
University of Turin
Jan Sprenger
University of Turin


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