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Counterfactuals is David Lewis' forceful presentation of and sustained argument for a particular view about propositions which express contrary to fact conditionals, including his famous defense of realism about possible worlds.

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Counterfactuals is David Lewis' forceful presentation of and sustained argument for a particular view about propositions which express contrary to fact conditionals, including his famous defense of realism about possible worlds.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"'Contrary-to-fact conditionals have provided logical analysts with fascinating puzzles. (This book) has a unitary theme presented clearly and attractively for the most part with only the unavoidable minimum of formal apparatus. The theme is pursued confidently and relentlessly without evasions or qualifications." Times Literary Supplement

"This is an excellent book. It combines shrewd philosophical sense with a fine technical expertise. The statement of views is concise and forthright." Kit Fine, Mind

"This essay is a virtuoso performance." British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

"Beautifully and lucidly written and full of clever ideas. It contains very many philosophical insights and comparisons." J. J. C. Smart, Australasian Journal of Philosophy

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631224952
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

David Lewis (1941- 2001) was Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University. His publications include Convention (reissued by Blackwell 2002), On the Plurality of Worlds (reissued by Blackwell, 2000), Parts of Classes (1991), and of numerous articles in metaphysics and other areas. Many of his writings are available in his Collected Papers.

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Table of Contents

1 An Analysis of Counterfactuals
1.1 Introduction 1
1.2 Strict Conditionals 4
1.3 Variably Strict Conditionals 13
1.4 The Limit Assumption 19
1.5 'Might' Counterfactuals and Outer Modalities 21
1.6 Impossible Antecedents 24
1.7 True Antecedents 26
1.8 Counterfactual Fallacies 31
1.9 Potentialities 36
2 Reformulations
2.1 Multiple Modalities 44
2.2 Propositional Quantification 45
2.3 Comparative Similarity 48
2.4 Similarity Measures 50
2.5 Comparative Possibility 52
2.6 Cotenability 57
2.7 Selection Functions 57
2.8 The Selection Operator 61
3 Comparisons
3.1 The Metalinguistic Theory: Implicit Premises 65
3.2 The Metalinguistic Theory: Factual Premises 68
3.3 The Metalinguistic Theory: Laws of Nature 72
3.4 Stalnaker's Theory 77
4 Foundations
4.1 Possible Worlds 84
4.2 Similarity 91
5 Analogies
5.1 Conditional Obligation 96
5.2 'When Next' and 'When Last' 104
5.3 Contextually Definite Descriptions 111
6 Logics
6.1 Completeness Results 118
6.2 Decidability Results 134
6.3 Derived Modal Logics 137
App Related writings by David Lewis 143
Index 149
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