ISBN : 9780198785958
Moritz Schulz explores counterfactual thought and language: what would have happened if things had gone a different way. Counterfactual questions may concern large scale derivations (what would have happened if Nixon had launched a nuclear attack) or small scale evaluations of minor derivations (what would have happened if I had decided to join a different profession). A common impression, which receives a thorough defence in the book, is that oftentimes we find it impossible to know what would have happened. However, this does not mean that we are completely at a loss: we are typically capable of evaluating counterfactual questions probabilistically: we can say what would have been likely or unlikely to happen. Schulz describes these probabilistic ways of evaluating counterfactual questions and turns the data into a novel account of the workings of counterfactual thought.
2 The Problem of Evaluating Counterfactuals
3 Counterfactual Chances
4 A Puzzle About Counterfactuals
5 Restriction and Modification
6 Counterfactuals and Arbitrariness
9 Concluding Remarks