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Counterpossible Reasoning in Physics

Wilson, Alastair (2021) Counterpossible Reasoning in Physics. In: UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

This paper explores three ways in which physics may involve counterpossible reasoning. The first way arises when evaluating false theories: to say what the world would be like if the theory were true, we need to evaluate counterfactuals with physically impossible antecedents. The second way relates to the role of counterfactuals in characterizing causal structure: to say what causes what in physics, we need to make reference to physically impossible scenarios. The third way is novel: to model metaphysical dependence in physics, we need to consider counterfactual consequences of metaphysical impossibilities. Physics accordingly bears substantial and surprising counterpossible commitments.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Wilson, Alastaira.j.wilson@bham.ac.uk0000-0003-3027-5016
Keywords: counterfactuals physics modality dependence
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Theory Change
Depositing User: Prof Alastair Wilson
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2021 18:54
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2021 18:54
Item ID: 19814
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1086/714706
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Laws of Nature
Specific Sciences > Physics
General Issues > Theory Change
Date: 23 February 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/19814

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