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Making a DifferenceEssays on the Philosophy of Causation$
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Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock, and Huw Price

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198746911

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198746911.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 02 August 2021

Causal Counterfactuals and Impossible Worlds

Causal Counterfactuals and Impossible Worlds

(p.14) 2 Causal Counterfactuals and Impossible Worlds
Making a Difference

Daniel Nolan

Oxford University Press

A standing challenge in the theory of counterfactuals is to solve the ‘deviation problem’. Consider ordinary counterfactuals involving an antecedent concerning a difference from the actual course of events at a particular time, and a consequent concerning, at least in part, what happens at a later time. In the possible worlds framework, the problem is often put in terms of which are the relevant antecedent worlds. Desiderata for the solution include that the relevant antecedent worlds be governed by the actual laws of nature with no miracles; that the past in those worlds before the antecedent time matches the actual past; that the account is compatible with determinism, and that many of our ordinary counterfactual judgements are correct, and would be correct even given determinism. Many theorists have compromised on one or more of these desiderata, but this chapter presents an account employing impossible worlds that satisfies them all.

Keywords:   counterfactuals, causation, impossible worlds, counterpossibles, possible worlds

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