Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

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Talk: Paolo Santorio (Maryland)

Location: Ludwigstr. 31, room 021

23.06.2022 17:45  – 19:00 


Probabilities of counterfactuals are counterfactual probabilities


Suppose that, yesterday at noon, Maria considered flipping a fair coin, but didn't. What probability do you assign to "If Maria had flipped the coin, the coin would have landed heads"? Now suppose that, contrary to fact, Maria did indeed flip the coin. In that counterfactual scenario, what is the probability of "The coin will land tails"? The two questions sound strikingly similar. I argue that they sound similar because they are equivalent. The chance of a counterfactual 'If A, would C" equals the chance of C, in the counterfactual scenario that A (and a similar principle holds for credence). This principle does better than similar principles that have been defended (like Skyrms' Thesis), avoids triviality, and gives us important clues for a semantics for counterfactuals.