Back to overview

Hypothetical Interventions and Belief Changes

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Andreas Holger, Casini Lorenzo,
Project Mechanistic Constitution in the Special Sciences
Show all

Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Foundations of Science
Volume (Issue) 24(4)
Page(s) 681 - 704
Title of proceedings Foundations of Science
DOI 10.1007/s10699-019-09605-8


According to Woodward’s (Making things happen. A theory of causal explanation, Oxford University Press, New York, 2003) influential account of explanation, explanations have a counterfactual structure, and explanatory counterfactuals are analysed in terms of causal relations and interventions. In this paper, we provide a formal semantics of explanatory counterfactuals based on a Ramsey Test semantics of conditionals. Like Woodward’s account, our account is guided by causal considerations. Unlike Woodward’s account, it makes no reference to causal graphs and it also covers cases of explanation where interventions are impossible.