The myth of the categorical counterfactual

Philosophical Studies 144 (2):281 - 296 (2009)
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Abstract

I aim to show that standard theories of counterfactuals are mistaken, not in detail, but in principle, and I aim to say what form a tenable theory must take. Standard theories entail a categorical interpretation of counterfactuals, on which to state that, if it were that A, it would be that C is to state something, not relative to any supposition or hypothesis, but categorically. On the rival suppositional interpretation, to state that, if it were that A, it would be that C is to state that it would be that C relative to the supposition that it were that A. The two interpretations make incompatible predictions concerning the correct evaluation of counterfactuals. I argue that the suppositional interpretation makes the correct prediction.

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References found in this work

Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Malden, Mass.: Blackwell.
Truth and other enigmas.Michael Dummett - 1978 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 36 (3):602-605.
A philosophical guide to conditionals.Jonathan Bennett - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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