Applied Counterfactual Reasoning

Chapter

Summary

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.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bennett, J. 2003. A Philosophical Guide to Conditionals. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cowley, R., ed. 2000. What If? The World’s Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been. New York: Berkley Books.Google Scholar
  3. Cowley, R., ed. 2002. What If? 2: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been. New York: Berkley Books.Google Scholar
  4. Cowley, R., ed. 2004. What Ifs of American History. New York: Berkley Books.Google Scholar
  5. Elster, J. 1978. Logic and Society: Contradictions and Possible Worlds. UK: Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  6. Fearon, J. 1991. Counterfactuals and hypothesis testing in political science. World Politics 43:169–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fearon, J. 1996. Causes and counterfactuals in social science. In Counterfactual Thought Experiments in Global Politics: Logical, Methodological, and Psychological Perspectives 39–68. Ed. P. E. Tetlock and A. Belkin. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Ferguson, N., ed. 1999. Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  9. Fogel, R. W. 1964. Railroads and Economic Growth. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press.Google Scholar
  10. Hawthorn, G. 1991. Plausible Worlds: Possibility and Understanding in History and the Social Sciences. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Khong, Y. F. 1996. Confronting Hitler and its consequences. In Counterfactual Thought Experiments in Global Politics: Logical, Methodological, and Psychological Perspectives 95–118. Ed. P. E. Tetlock and A. Belkin. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Kvart, I. 1986. A Theory of Counterfactuals. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  13. Kvart, I. 1992. Counterfactuals. Erkenntnis 36:139–179.CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  14. Kvart, I. 1994. Counterfactuals: Ambiguities, true premises, and knowledge. Synthese 100:133–164.CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  15. Lebow, R. N. 2000. What’s so different about a counterfactual? World Politics 52:550–585.Google Scholar
  16. Lebow, R. N. 2001. Contingency, catalysts, and international systems change. Political Science Quarterly 115(4):591–616.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lebow, R. N., and G. Breslauer. 2004. Leadership and the end of the Cold War. In Ending the Cold War: Interpretations, Causation and the Study of International Relations 161–188. Ed. R. K. Herrmann and R. N. Lebow. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  18. Lewis, D. 1973. Counterfactuals. Malden, MA: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  19. Lewis, D. 1979. Counterfactual dependence and time’s arrow. Nous 13:455–476.Google Scholar
  20. Lewis, D. 1986. Postscripts to counterfactual dependence and time’s arrow. In Philosophical Papers, vol. 2, 52–66. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Stalnaker, R. 1968. A theory of conditionals. In Studies in Logical Theory. Ed. N. Rescher. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Tetlock, P. E., and A. Belkin. 1996. Counterfactual thought experiments in global politics: Logical, methodological, and psychological perspectives. In Counterfactual Thought Experiments in Global Politics: Logical, Methodological, and Psychological Perspectives 3–38. Ed. P. E. Tetlock and A. Belkin. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Tsouras, P. G., ed. 2001. Rising Sun Victorious: The Alternate History of How the Japanese Won the Pacific War. London, UK: Greenhill Books.Google Scholar
  24. Tsouras, P. G., ed. 2002. Third Reich Victorious: Alternate Decisions of WWII. London, UK: Greenhill Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for National Security Analysis & Information Analysis Program James Madison University HarrisonburgHarrisonburgUSA

Personalised recommendations