Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

Author Item Excerpt Meta data
Bigelow, John
Books on Amazon
Counterfactual Dependence I 315
Counterfactual dependence/causes/Bigelow/Pargetter: the connection between both is narrow but complicated. It goes back to Lewis 1973b, Cause.
Lewis: analysis as causation is a special case of counterfactual dependence.
Logical form: a sequence of propositions.
I 317
Counterfactual dependence/Lewis/Bigelow/Pargetter: here relations of consequences of propositions are considered, no forces. It is important that these occur only between separate events. It is wider than the definition of the cause of Lewis, for three reasons:
1. It may also consist between propositions which do not concern events, e.g. concerning the number of rats and cats.
2. Overlapping events can also be included here.
I 318
E.g. Composite events often depend on their components in a counterfactual manner. E.g. Jaegwon Kim: if I had not written a double r, I would not have written "Harry". (Kim 1973).
3. There is a difference in whether to tell which of these events are happening or whether one of these events happens.
It may be true that these counterfactual conditionals are true
C1 would happen> would e1 happen
C2 would happen> would e2 happen
And yet the following are not true
C1 would not happen> would e1 not happen
C2 would not happen> e2 would not happen
Causation/Lewis: is then not given, but nevertheless counterfactual dependency. For example, it may be that a person hears a sound in an experiment, although none is produced.
I 319
Cause/Lewis/Bigelow/Pargetter: N.B.: one can still say here that the sounds that actually reach the ear are the cause of the sensation (no illusion) although Lewis' condition is actually not fulfilled. This shows that we rather rely on the concept of counterfactual dependence than on concept of the causation, as Lewis has defined it.
Counterfactual dependence/physics/science/Bigelow/Pargetter. E.g. Boyles law: (gas pressure depends on volume and temperature): provides an infinite number of counterfactual dependencies.
Similar: E.g. Perception Psychology, Biology.
I 320
As well: for example, in the process of concluding counterfactual dependence between conclusion and premisses.
E.g. Act according to beliefs and desires.
E.g. Functionalism.

Big I
J. Bigelow, R. Pargetter
Science and Necessity Cambridge 1990

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-04-25