Complex antecedents and probabilities in causal counterfactuals

Daniel Lassiter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Ciardelli, Zhang, &Champollion [5] point out an empirical problem for theories of counterfactualsbased on maximal similarity or minimal revision involving negated conjunctionsin the antecedent. They also show that disjunctions and negated conjunctions behave differentlyin counterfactual antecedents, and propose an attractive solution that combinesInquisitive Semantics [4] with a theory of counterfactuals based on interventions on causalmodels [20]. This paper describes several incorrect empirical predictions of the resultingaccount, which point to a very general issue for interventionist theories: frequently theantecedent does not give us enough information to choose a unique intervention. Theproblem applies also to indefinites and to the negation of any non-binary variable. I arguethat, when there are multiple ways of instantiating a counterfactual antecedent, we preferscenarios that are more likely given general probabilistic causal knowledge. A theory isproposed which implements this idea while preserving [5]'s key contributions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventAmsterdam Colloquium - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 20 Dec 201722 Dec 2017


ConferenceAmsterdam Colloquium
Abbreviated titleAC


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