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Causation and ResponsibilityAn Essay in Law, Morals, and Metaphysics$
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Michael S. Moore

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199256860

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199256860.001.0001

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Counterfactual Conditionals

Counterfactual Conditionals

(p.371) 16 Counterfactual Conditionals
Causation and Responsibility

Michael S. Moore (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins with an examination of counterfactual conditionals generally, without reference to using them as the reduction base for causation. The thesis of the chapter is that there are two analytically distinct and historically important conceptions of these conditionals. These are: (1) the older, (scientific) law-related view; and (2) the newer, possible worlds account. The subsequent chapters of the book focus on the latter in framing their discussion about the counterfactual theory of causation. This is done despite the author's own long-term bet being on the former conception of counterfactuals, a bet based on: (1) the difficulties that exist in making sense of a similarity metric with which to compare possible worlds; and (2) the difficulties of accepting any form of modal realism about possible worlds.

Keywords:   counterfactuals, counterfactual conditionals, possible worlds, similarity, modal realism

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