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    On Lewis, Schaffer and the non-reductive evaluation of counterfactuals

    Northcott, Robert (2009) On Lewis, Schaffer and the non-reductive evaluation of counterfactuals. Theoria 75 (4), pp. 336-343. ISSN 1755-2567.

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    Abstract

    Jonathan Schaffer (2004) proposes an ingenious amendment to David Lewis's semantics for counterfactuals. This amendment explicitly invokes the notion of causal independence, thus giving up Lewis's ambitions for a reductive counterfactual account of causation. But in return, it rescues Lewis's semantics from extant counterexamples. I present a new counterexample that defeats even Schaffer's amendment. Further, I argue that a better approach would be to follow the causal modelling literature and evaluate counterfactuals via an explicit postulated causal structure. This alternative approach easily resolves the new counterexample, as well as all the previous ones. Up to now, its perceived drawback relative to Lewis's scheme has been its non-reductiveness. But since the same drawback applies equally to Schaffer's amended scheme, this becomes no longer a point of comparative disadvantage.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2014 14:56
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:13
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/11075

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