Counterfactuals and historical possibility

Publication Year:
2005
Usage 569
Downloads 569
Repository URL:
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/2268
Author(s):
Placek, Tomasz; Muller, Thomas
preprint description
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.