, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 583-606

Conditioning against the Grain

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Abstract

This paper discusses counterexamples to the thesis that the probabilities of conditionals are conditional probabilities. It is argued that the discrepancy is systematic and predictable, and that conditional probabilities are crucially involved in the apparently deviant interpretations. Furthermore, the examples suggest that such conditionals have a less prominent reading on which their probability is in fact the conditional probability, and that the two readings are related by a simple step of abductive inference. Central to the proposal is a distinction between causal and purely stochastic dependence between variables.