Morgenbesser's coin, counterfactuals and independence
Noordhof (Paul)
Source: Analysis 65.3, July 2005, pp. 261-263(3)
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

    I argue that, contrary to what Jonathan Schaffer urges, when assessing counterfactuals we should consider circumstances which match the actual circumstances in all facts probabilistically independent (rather than causally independent) of the truth of the antecedent. As a result, one reason for supposing that a counterfactual analysis of causation1 is not possible is removed. The article presents its author's approach of assessing counterfactuals by considering circumstances that match the actual circumstances in all probabilistically independent fact. Philosopher Jonathan Schaffer argues that this approach cannot deal with the case of Morgenbesser's coin. In this brief article, the author explains how his approach deals with the case of Morgenbesser's coin and argues that the situation is, in fact, the reverse. His suggestion is that one should bring forward facts that are probabilistically independent of the antecedent.

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