Computational Methods for Counterterrorism

pp 249-262


Applied Counterfactual Reasoning

  • Noel HendricksonAffiliated withInstitute for National Security Analysis & Information Analysis Program James Madison University Harrisonburg Email author 

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This chapter addresses two goals: The development of a structured method to aid intelligence and security analysts in assessing counterfactuals, and forming a structured method to educate (future) analysts in counterfactual reasoning. In order to pursue these objectives, I offer here an analysis of the purposes, problems, parts, and principles of applied counterfactual reasoning. In particular, the ways in which antecedent scenarios are selected and the ways in which scenarios are developed constitute essential (albeit often neglected) aspects of counterfactual reasoning. Both must be addressed to apply counterfactual reasoning effectively. Naturally, further issues remain, but these should serve as a useful point of departure. They are the beginning of a path to more rigorous and relevant counterfactual reasoning in intelligence analysis and counterterrorism.