Hypothetical Interventions and Belief Changes
- 83 Downloads
According to Woodward’s (Making things happen. A theory of causal explanation, Oxford University Press, New York, 2003) influential account of explanation, explanations have a counterfactual structure, and explanatory counterfactuals are analysed in terms of causal relations and interventions. In this paper, we provide a formal semantics of explanatory counterfactuals based on a Ramsey Test semantics of conditionals. Like Woodward’s account, our account is guided by causal considerations. Unlike Woodward’s account, it makes no reference to causal graphs and it also covers cases of explanation where interventions are impossible.
KeywordsBelief revision theory Causal models Causation Conditionals Explanation Interventionist account
Lorenzo Casini acknowledges the generous support of the Swiss National Science Foundation, Grants Nos. CRSII 1 147685/1 and 100012E 160866/1.
- Brewka, G. (1991). Belief revision in a framework for default reasoning. In: Proceeding of the workshop on the logic of theory change (pp. 602–622). London: Springer.Google Scholar
- Gärdenfors, P. (1978). Conditionals and changes of belief. In I. Niiniluoto & R. Tuomela (eds.), The logic and epistemology of scientific change (Vol. 30, pp. 381–404). Acta Philosophica Fennica.Google Scholar
- Lewis, D. (1973b). Counterfactuals. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Lewis, D. (1986). Philosophical papers (Vol. II). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Pauling, L. (1960). Nature of the chemical bond. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- Ramsey, F. P. (1950). General propositions and causality. In R. B. Braithwaite (Ed.), Foundations of mathematics and other logical essays (pp. 237–257). New York: Humanities Press.Google Scholar
- Salmon, W. C. (1984). Scientific explanation and the causal structure of the world. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Stalnaker, R. (1968). A theory of conditionals. In N. Rescher (Ed.), Studies in logical theory (Vol. 2, pp. 98–112)., American philosophical quarterly monograph series Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Strevens, M. (2008). Depth: An account of scientific explanation. Harvard: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Woodward, W. (2003). Making things happen. A theory of causal explanation. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar