By Henry Bradford Smith
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Jaakko Hintikka is the writer or co-author of thirty volumes and of a few three hundred scholarly articles in mathematical and philosophical common sense, epistemology, language idea, philosophy of technology, heritage of rules and heritage of philosophy, together with Aristotle, Descartes, Leibniz, Kant, Peirce, The Bloomsbury staff, Husserl and Wittgenstein.
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When I say that if Jones had been present, he would have voted for the proposal, I am saying that in the situation that most resembles the way things actually are in which Jones is present, assuming that there is one, he voted in favour. If that assumption does not hold, the conditional in question (and likewise its contrary) is neither true nor false. This suggestion surely has considerable plausibility. The main argument against counting all 'counterfactual' conditionals with true antecedents as true if their consequents are true is similar to the standard arguments against treating Simple Conditionals as material conditionals: it would require us to hold as true 'counterfactual' conditionals with unrelated antecedent and consequent that we should not normally use.
What, then, about (iv)? The probability of rain or snow may be high, yet the conditional probability of snow in the absence of rain may be very low indeed. In the case of (v), it is obvious that ____________________ 3See Edgington Commentary, p. 111. -26- the probability of anyone's living in Boston relative to the information that he doesn't live in New England is zero. But do we have here a case in which the relevant probabilities of the premisses can be high and yet the probability of the conclusion low?
Moreover, except when the consequent is entailed by, or is inconsistent with, the antecedent, among worlds in which the antecedent is true, there will be some in which the consequent is true and others in which it is false. Thus, there will be some worlds in which Abraham Lincoln is not assassinated by Booth, but he is assassinated by someone else, and history takes a course not greatly unlike its actual course; in others, he is not assassinated at all, and the course of history diverges more sharply from the actual.