counterfactual

(redirected from Counterfactuals)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.

coun·ter·fac·tu·al

 (koun′tər-făk′cho͞o-əl)
adj.
Running contrary to the facts: "Cold war historiography vividly illustrates how the selection of the counterfactual question to be asked generally anticipates the desired answer" (Timothy Garton Ash).

coun′ter·fac′tu·al n.

counterfactual

(ˌkauntəˈfæktʃʊəl) logic
adj
(Logic) expressing what has not happened but could, would, or might under differing conditions
n
(Logic) a conditional statement in which the first clause is a past tense subjunctive statement expressing something contrary to fact, as in: if she had hurried she would have caught the bus.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.counterfactual - going counter to the facts (usually as a hypothesis)
conditional - imposing or depending on or containing a condition; "conditional acceptance of the terms"; "lent conditional support"; "the conditional sale will not be complete until the full purchase price is paid"

counterfactual

adjective
References in periodicals archive ?
The longstanding philosophical orthodoxy on counterfactuals holds, in part, that counterfactuals with metaphysically impossible antecedents ("counterpossibles") are indiscriminately vacuously true.
Toward this purpose, we present a multiple causation framework (MCF) based on four modes of causal explanation: regularity and probability, counterfactuals, physical processes, and disposition.
Counterfactuals are important because if we replace the current medical malpractice liability system, some external incentives for physicians to avoid medical errors would presumably remain, and as such, some different, presumably more suitable, level of physician fear and defensive medicine would remain.
argue that counterfactuals should be used as a means to provide
48) He has addressed the question most extensively in his "Facts and Counterfactuals in Economic Law" (Hulsmann, 2003), but his distinctive approach is present in several other articles as well (Hulsmann, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2004).
Syntactically, a counterfactual statement is a particular kind of conditional sentence, an if/then statement that, as the editors of the arts magazine Triple Canopy explain in a recent issue on literary counterfactuals, has the "the unusual effect of causing past-tense forms to read in a capacious--even paradisiacal--present tense; such a conditional is defined by the fact that a speaker presupposes the proposition given in the if clause to be false." (7) Among the many counterfactual statements Eulalie makes in "A Castaway," a particularly concrete and poignant example arises when she imagines the possibility of redemption through female solidarity:
Throughout the book, Gordon argues that counterfactuals, imaginative scenarios typified by a "what if" or "if I had only known" conditionals, are necessary sites of investigation in order to analyze and imagine what should be done with Alberta's vast bituminous reserves and the culture they have created.
Lebow (2012) points out that counterfactuals are frequently used in physical and biological sciences to develop and evaluate sophisticated, non-linear models.
The emergence of clear semantics for causal claims and of a sound logic for causal reasoning is relatively recent, with the consolidation over the past decades of a coherent theoretical corpus of definitions, concepts, and methods of general applicability that is anchored into counterfactuals. The latter corpus has proved to be of high practical interest in numerous applied fields (e.g., epidemiology, economics, and social science).
The contradiction only arises if we accept proposition 13, so the argument to show that secondary counterfactuals are in fact relevant to the truth-value of contrastive causal claims presupposes that some secondary counterfactual is implied by the contrastive causal claim under evaluation.