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Counterfactuals and historical possibility

Placek, Tomasz and Muller, Thomas (2005) Counterfactuals and historical possibility. [Preprint]


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We show that truth conditions for counterfactuals need not always be given in terms of a vague notion of similarity. To this end, we single out the important class of historical counterfactuals and give formally rigorous truth conditions for these counterfactuals, employing a partial ordering relation called ``comparative closeness'' that is defined in the framework of branching space-times. Among other applications, we provide a detailed analysis of counterfactuals uttered in the context of lost bets. In an appendix we compare our theory with the branching space-times based reading of counterfactuals recently proposed by Belnap.

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Item Type: Preprint
Placek, Tomasz
Muller, Thomas
Keywords: branching space-times, historical counterfactuals, comparative closeness, betting
Subjects: General Issues > Causation
General Issues > Determinism/Indeterminism
Depositing User: Tomasz Placek
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2005
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:13
Item ID: 2268

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