Synthese 199 (1-2):927-947 (2020)

Katie Steele
Australian National University
Alexander Sandgren
Umeå University
In this paper, we develop a novel response to counterfactual scepticism, the thesis that most ordinary counterfactual claims are false. In the process we aim to shed light on the relationship between debates in the philosophy of science and debates concerning the semantics and pragmatics of counterfactuals. We argue that science is concerned with many domains of inquiry, each with its own characteristic entities and regularities; moreover, statements of scientific law often include an implicit ceteris paribus clause that restricts the scope of the associated regularity to circumstances that are ‘fitting’ to the domain in question. This observation reveals a way of responding to scepticism while, at the same time, doing justice both to the role of counterfactuals in science and to the complexities inherent in ordinary counterfactual discourse and reasoning.
Keywords Counterfactuals  Counterfactual scepticism  Ceteris paribus laws  Contextualism  Hájek
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Reprint years 2021
DOI 10.1007/s11229-020-02742-9
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References found in this work BETA

Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Foundations of Language 13 (1):145-151.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1974 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 36 (3):602-605.

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Citations of this work BETA

And Therefore.Bram Vaassen & Alex Sandgren - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
Halfway Proportionality.Bram Vaassen - 2022 - Philosophical Studies:1-21.
A Graded Semantics for Counterfactuals.Libor Běhounek & Ondrej Majer - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):11963-11994.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

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