Single Idea 4795

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 9. Counterfactual Claims]

Full Idea

Lewis can elucidate the logic of counterfactuals on the assumption that you are not at all puzzled about what a law of nature is. But if you are puzzled about this, it cannot contribute anything towards resolving your puzzlement.

Gist of Idea

Lewis's account of counterfactuals is fine if we know what a law of nature is, but it won't explain the latter


comment on David Lewis (Causation [1973]) by L. Jonathan Cohen - The Problem of Natural Laws p.219

Book Reference

Psillos,Stathis: 'Causation and Explanation' [Acumen 2002], p.148

A Reaction

This seems like a penetrating remark. The counterfactual theory is wrong, partly because it is epistemological instead of ontological, and partly because it refuses to face the really difficult problem, of what is going on out there.