Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Understanding Counterfactuals, Understanding CausationIssues in Philosophy and Psychology$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Christoph Hoerl, Teresa McCormack, and Sarah R. Beck

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199590698

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199590698.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 24 September 2018

Mental Simulation and the Nexus of Causal and Counterfactual Explanation

Mental Simulation and the Nexus of Causal and Counterfactual Explanation

Chapter:
(p.147) 7 Mental Simulation and the Nexus of Causal and Counterfactual Explanation
Source:
Understanding Counterfactuals, Understanding Causation
Author(s):

David R. Mandel

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199590698.003.0008

This chapter examines the role of mental simulation in causal and counterfactual explanations of outcomes of past cases. Following the Introduction, Part 2 outlines the author’s reasons for his emphasis on explanation as opposed to thinking or reasoning. Part 3 traces the development of the mental simulation construct, expands on previous notions, and critically examines how psychologists have used the mental simulation construct to make claims about the nature of causal explanation. Part 4 summarizes an alternative functional account of the relationship between causal and counterfactual explanation called Judgment Dissociation Theory (JDT). In JDT, mental simulations are posited to play a role in both causal and counterfactual explanations, but the focus of each type of explanation is different. Specifically, causal explanations tend to focus on antecedents that were sufficient under the circumstances to yield the actual event, whereas counterfactual explanations tend to focus on (the mutation of) antecedents that would have been sufficient to prevent the actual outcome and others like it from occurring. These different foci lead to predictable dissociations in explanatory content, which have been confirmed in recent experiments. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the compatibility of JDT with an interventionist account of causal thinking.

Keywords:   mental simulation, counterfactual thinking, causal thinking, explanation

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .