MoL-2012-12: Causation and the Semantics of Counterfactuals

MoL-2012-12: Cai, Haitao (2012) Causation and the Semantics of Counterfactuals. [Report]

[thumbnail of Full Text]
Text (Full Text)

Download (585kB) | Preview
[thumbnail of Abstract] Text (Abstract)

Download (1kB)


Semantics of counterfactuals is normally developed according to the
principle of similarity, and the key point is to specify the notion of
relative similarity. It can be seen in specific examples that
causation plays a crucial role in determining the independence of
particular facts and thus also in the measure of relative similarity.
Counterfactual account of causation is briefly reviewed. Some
counterexamples are provided to illuminate its inherent difficulty,
which justifies the proposal that causation underlies the semantics of
counterfactuals rather than the converse.
Event calculus is introduced in order to facilitate discussions on
causation and the semantics of counterfactuals. Two notions of
causation are defined formally under the framework of event calculus
by making use of timing.
Given the mechanism of identification of causation, the semantics of
counterfactuals is defined in terms of relative similarity. It's
argued that the examples about duchess that are used to support the
proposal of epistemic reading actually don't work. The example about
Kennedy is also analyzed without appealing to epistemic reading.

Item Type: Report
Report Nr: MoL-2012-12
Series Name: Master of Logic Thesis (MoL) Series
Year: 2012
Uncontrolled Keywords: Logic, Language
Depositing User: Tanja Kassenaar
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2016 14:38
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2016 14:38

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item