Contrastive explanations, crystal balls and the inadmissibility of historical information

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Nissan-Rozen, Ittay
conference paper description
I argue for the falsity of what I call the "Admissibility of Historical Information Thesis" (AHIT). According to the AHIT propositions that describe past events are always admissible with respect to propositions that describe future events. I first demonstrate that this demand has some counter-intuitive implications and then argue that the source of the counter-intuitiveness is a wrong understanding of the concept of chance. I also discuss the relation between the failure of the AHIT and the existence of contrastive explanations for chancy events (which David Lewis denied).