The algorithmization of counterfactuals

  • Judea PearlEmail author


Recent advances in causal reasoning have given rise to a computation model that emulates the process by which humans generate, evaluate and distinguish counterfactual sentences. Though compatible with the “possible worlds” account, this model enjoys the advantages of representational economy, algorithmic simplicity and conceptual clarity. Using this model, the paper demonstrates the processing of counterfactual sentences on a classical example due to Ernest Adam. It then gives a panoramic view of several applications where counterfactual reasoning has benefited problem areas in the empirical sciences.


Causal reasoning Counterfactuals Conditional logic 

Mathematics Subject Classifications (2010)

68T30 68T37 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Computer Science DepartmentUniversity of California Los Angeles (UCLA)Los AngelesUSA

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