Causation and the Temporal Regularity of Subjunctive Conditionals

  • Donald Nute
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series in Philosophy book series (PSSP, volume 20)


Many counterfactual subjunctive conditionals are true because of a causal relationship which holds between events mentioned in their antecedents and consequents. In fact, our understanding of causation, subjunctive conditionals, and laws or law statements are inextricably intertwined. Because of this, we might expect that we could use an analysis of subjunctive conditionals to explicate certain causal notions or the notion of a physical law. Certain authors have attempted this recently, two of these being David Lewis and Marshall Swain. Both of these attempts make use of an account of subjunctive conditionals in explaining what are the conditions for one event to be a cause of another. Of the two, Lewis includes the unanalysed notion of a law in his analysis of causation as well. Both of these very similar accounts fail, I think, for reasons which make it very unlikely that any such explication of causation will succeed. To show this will be the primary task for the next section of this chapter.


Actual World Causal Chain Causal Dependence Counterfactual Dependence Causal Loop 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald Nute
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GeorgiaUSA

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