“If you’d wiggled A, then B would’ve changed”: Causality and counterfactual conditionals

Synthese 179 (2):239-251 (2011)
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This paper deals with the truth conditions of conditional sentences. It focuses on a particular class of problematic examples for semantic theories for these sentences. I will argue that the examples show the need to refer to dynamic, in particular causal laws in an approach to their truth conditions. More particularly, I will claim that we need a causal notion of consequence. The proposal subsequently made uses a representation of causal dependencies as proposed in Pearl (2000) to formalize a causal notion of consequence. This notion inserted in premise semantics for counterfactuals in the style of Veltman (1976) and Kratzer (1979) will provide a new interpretation rule for conditionals. I will illustrate how this approach overcomes problems of previous proposals and end with some remarks on remaining questions



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Katrin Schulz
University of Amsterdam

References found in this work

Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1965 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Causation.David Lewis - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (17):556-567.
Causality: Models, Reasoning and Inference.Judea Pearl - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):201-202.

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