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Understanding Counterfactuals, Understanding CausationIssues in Philosophy and Psychology$
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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

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Counterfactual Availability and Causal Judgment

Counterfactual Availability and Causal Judgment

Chapter:
(p.171) 8 Counterfactual Availability and Causal Judgment
Source:
Understanding Counterfactuals, Understanding Causation
Author(s):

Christopher Hitchcock

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199590698.003.0009

Although there are problems with efforts to analyze causation in terms of counterfactuals, mainly stemming from pre-emption, it is clear that causation and counterfactuals are closely related. While philosophers have primarily been interested in questions concerning the semantics of counterfactuals—which counterfactuals are true, and what are the logical relations among counterfactuals and other claims—psychologists have been interested in the question of which counterfactual possibilities we actually entertain. Psychologists have enumerated a number of factors that render certain counterfactual possibilities readily ‘available’. I argue that we can expect these factors to exert a related influence on causal judgements, and connect this thesis with a number of discussions from the philosophical literature on causation.

Keywords:   causation, counterfactual, counterfactual availability, Kahneman, Daniel, Knobe, Joshua, Lewis, David, norms, Tversky, Amos

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