Single Idea 8608

[catalogued under 26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 9. General Causation / c. Counterfactual causation]

Full Idea

A counterfactual can be said to 'backtrack' if it can be said that if the present were different a different past would have led up to it (rather than if the present were different, the same past would have had a different outcome).

Gist of Idea

Counterfactuals 'backtrack' if a different present implies a different past


David Lewis (New work for a theory of universals [1983], 'Dup,Sup,Div')

Book Reference

'Properties', ed/tr. Mellor,D.H. /Oliver,A [OUP 1997], p.208

A Reaction

A nice clear definition of a concept which is important in Lewis's analysis of causation. In the current context he is concerned with elucidation of determinism and materialism. I would say (intuitively) that all counterfactuals backtrack.