A new future similarity objection
- 67 Downloads
The future similarity objection against David Lewis’s theory of counterfactuals re-emerges once the space-time of possible worlds is adequately represented. Given such a representation, it can be shown that a number of counterfactuals that seem clearly true, such as Kit Fine’s example ‘If Nixon had pressed the button, there would have been a nuclear holocaust’, come out false, even if determinism is assumed. Lewis’s similarity criteria can be modified in different ways to avoid the problem, but some of the modifications have problems of their own.
KeywordsCounterfactual conditionals Possible worlds Similarity David Lewis
Special thanks to Luke Fenton-Glynn for advice during the inception of the project. For helpful comments and suggestions, I would also like to thank Daniel Dohrn, Karen Lewis, Beau Madison Mount, Thomas Müller, Moritz Schulz, an anonymous referee for Philosophical Studies, and audiences and workshop participants in Belgrade, Berlin, Dubrovnik, Hamburg, London, and Mainz.
- Hájek, A. (manuscript). Most counterfactuals are false. http://philrsss.anu.edu.au/people-defaults/alanh/papers/MCF.pdf. Accessed 05 Jan 2017.
- Lewis, D. (1973). Counterfactuals. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Lewis, D. (1986). Postscripts to ‘Counterfactual dependence and time’s arrow’. In Philosophical papers (Vol. II). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Woodward, J. (2003). Making things happen: A theory of causal explanation. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar