Causal Models and the Logic of Counterfactuals


Causal models show promise as a foundation for the semantics of counterfactual sentences. However, current approaches face limitations compared to the alternative similarity theory: they only apply to a limited subset of counterfactuals and the connection to counterfactual logic is not straightforward. This paper addresses these difficulties using exogenous interventions, where causal interventions change the values of exogenous variables rather than structural equations. This model accommodates judgments about backtracking counterfactuals, extends to logically complex counterfactuals, and validates familiar principles of counterfactual logic. This combines the interventionist intuitions of the causal approach with the logical advantages of the similarity approach.

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Jonathan Vandenburgh
Stanford University


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