Counterfactuals and historical possibility
by Tomasz Placek and Thomas Muller
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 .
Keywords: branching space-times, historical counterfactuals, comparative closeness,
Source: PhilSci Archive, Online Papers in Philosophy
Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Sunday, 15 May 2005 08:14 BST