Article/Publication Details

Backtracking Counterfactuals

(Original title: Spätné kontrafaktuály)
Filozofia, 2018, vol. 73, No 5, pp. 400-407.
Language: Slovak
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Abstract

The article discusses the enigmatic backtracking counterfactuals. It offers an explanation according to which in the case of the latter the negative time direction is due to their being abductive retrodictions, i.e. explanations of unreal effects by introducing possible causes while the conditions remain tacit or unexpressed. The counterfactual abductive retrodictions´ backtracking time direction is in accordance with the postulating the positive time direction from cause to effect. Thus we demonstrate that in order to explain backtracking counterfactuals there is no need to consider the backtracking impact of the present on the past. Further, there is no need to violate natural laws or to have a special logic. What we need is to take into account the third parameter, i.e. a set of tacit or unexpressed additional propositions, as well as the principle of ceteris paribus as our background. When the power of logic is not overestimated, there is no need to change the direction of causality. And a correct analysis does not require any special logic. Last, but not least, we show, how to correctly make the abductive retrodiction by the contraposition of the deductive retrodiction.

Keywords

Abduction, Backtracking direction of time, Causality, Counterfactual, Explanation, Retrodiction

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