Counterfactual Theories

L. A. Paul

in The Oxford Handbook of Causation

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199279739
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191577246 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Counterfactual Theories

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  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic
  • Philosophy of Science


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Counterfactual analyses have received a good deal of attention in recent years, resulting in a host of counterexamples and objections to the simple analysis and its descendants. The counterexamples are often complex and can seem baroque to the outsider (indeed, even to the insider), and it may be tempting to dismiss them as irrelevant or uninteresting. But while we may be able to ignore some counterexamples because the intuitions they evoke are unclear or misguided, the importance of investigating the causal relation via investigating counterexamples should not be underestimated.

Keywords: counterfactual theories; counterexamples; intuitions; causal relation; counterfactual analysis; causation

Article.  11897 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Science

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