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At the time Nozick wrote Philosophical Explanations, the theories of conditionals advanced by David Lewis and Robert Stalnaker were still fairly new. Lewis' book Counterfactuals was published in 1973 and Stalnaker's work was published in a series of papers from about 1968 onwards. Previously there hadn't been any generally accepted account of how ...


4

Well, the question is flawed because it assumes a binary distinction between "moral" and "immoral" acts. In utilitarianism, actions are more moral, or less moral, not completely moral or completely immoral in absolute terms. Morality is identified by utility, and falls on a continuum. Just for illustration purposes, suppose you have five ...


3

Counterfactual conditionals do appear in arguments, and we tend to treat them as contributing to validity and soundness, but their logic is much more problematic than other conditionals. Consider, for example: If Caesar had not crossed the Rubicon, the Roman Republic would have survived for another hundred years; If the Roman Republic had survived for ...


2

What you are describing is one of several accounts of counterfactuals: it is favoured by David Lewis and Robert Stalnaker among others. There are several different accounts, and there is no general agreement on how best to represent the truth conditions or the logic of conditionals. The basic motivation behind this position is that it seems to work well for ...


1

Lewis invites us to consider some counterfactual conditionals: Φ1 □→ Ψ Φ1 ∧ Φ2 □→ ¬Ψ Φ1 ∧ Φ2 ∧ Φ3 □→ Ψ He points out that in the way such conditionals are ordinarily used, all of these may consistently be true, which is one way of saying that counterfactual conditionals are typically non-monotonic. This creates difficulties for the position that ...


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