Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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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.

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I 13
Counterfactual Conditional/Co.Co./Fraassen: objectively neither true nor false.
I 115f
Counterfactual Conditionals/Fraassen: truth conditions use similarities between possible worlds: "If A, then B" is true in possible world w iff B is true in most similar world to w in which A is also true. - Similarity: is again context-dependent E.g. "Three Barbers"/Carroll: one in three must always be there - 1) if A is ill, B must accompany him, but 2) if C is gone as well, B has to stay there - contradiction: if A is ill, B must be there and gone. - VsCarroll: 1) and 2) are not in contradiction - material conditional: "either B or not A". - Solution/Fraassen: everyday language: not material conditional - Solution/Fraassen: Context Dependency: 1) is true if we only consider the illness, 2) is true if we only consider the shop - general: what situation is more like ours? -> Lewis: Bizet/Verdi.
I 118
FraassenVsCounterfactual Conditionals: but they are no solution here: scientific statements are not context-dependent. Therefore science implies no counterfactual conditionals (if they, as I believe, are context-dependent) - Counterfactual Conditionals/Laws of Nature/Reichenbach/E. Goodman: only laws, not general statements imply counterfactual conditionals - Therefore they are a criterion for laws - FraassenVsGoodman: conversely: if laws imply counterfactual conditionals, it is because they are context-dependent.

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.

Fr I
B. van Fraassen
The Scientific Image Oxford 1980

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-10-21