|Counterfactual conditional: the counterfactual conditional is equivalent to unreal conditional sentences. Conditionals, in which a fact is mentioned in the antecedent, which is not the case. If A were the case, B would have been the case. Counterfactual conditionals are needed because of the indeterminacy of pointing. One cannot unequivocally single out a certain element of a situation. The counterfactual conditional tells us which element would have had to be different in order for a process under examination to have a different outcome._____________Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments. |
Georg Henrik von Wright on Counterfactual Conditionals - Dictionary of Arguments
Counterfactual Conditional/Unreal Conditional Sentences/Law-likeness/Goodman/Wright, G. H.: the problem of unreal Conditional Sentences is an immediate critique of the concept of natural laws accepted in the positivist tradition. The problem is dealt with in classical essays by Chisholm and Goodman. (R. M. Chisholm, "The Contrary-to-Fact Conditional", Mind 55,1946). (N. Goodman, "The Problem of Counterfactual Conditionals", JP 44, 1947).
Wright, G. H.: Simplified representation: sometimes our belief that q would have been the case, if p hadn't been the case, is based on our belief in a lawful connection between the (generic) proposition p and q. Not every universal implication linking the two could act as a reason. Therefore, the question is how to characterize legality.
H. G. von WrightVsGoodman/H. G. von WrightVsChisholm: the concept of the unreal conditional sentence is involved itself in the distinction between legal and "accidental" connection. Therefore, it cannot be clarified with their help.
Conclusion/Wright: Necessity and not universality is the hallmark of law-likeness._____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Truth and Objectivity, Cambridge 1992
Wahrheit und Objektivität Frankfurt 2001
"Language-Mastery and Sorites Paradox"
Truth and Meaning, G. Evans/J. McDowell, Oxford 1976
Georg Henrik von Wright
Explanation and Understanding, New York 1971
Erklären und Verstehen Hamburg 2008