Title

A peculiarity in pearl’s logic of interventionist counterfactuals

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Journal of Philosophical Logic

Publication Date

10-10-2013

Volume

42

Issue

5

First Page

783

Last Page

794

Keywords

Causal model, Counterfactual logic, Counterfactual dependence, terventionism

Abstract

We examine a formal semantics for counterfactual conditionals due to Judea Pearl, which formalizes the interventionist interpretation of counterfactuals central to the interventionist accounts of causation and explanation. We show that a characteristic principle validated by Pearl’s semantics, known as the principle of reversibility, states a kind of irreversibility: counterfactual dependence (in David Lewis’s sense) between two distinct events is irreversible. Moreover, we show that Pearl’s semantics rules out only mutual counterfactual dependence, not cyclic dependence in general. This, we argue, suggests that Pearl’s logic is either too weak or too strong.

DOI

10.1007/s10992-012-9249-z

Print ISSN

00223611

E-ISSN

15730433

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

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Recommended Citation

Zhang, J., Lam, W. Y., & Clercq, R. D. (2013). A peculiarity in pearl’s logic of interventionist counterfactuals. Journal of Philosophical Logic, 42(5), 783-794. doi: 10.1007/s10992-012-9249-z