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By Dorothee Birke, Michael Butter, Tilmann K. Ppe

Counterfactuality is presently a hotly debated subject. whereas for a few disciplines, comparable to linguistics, cognitive technological know-how, or psychology, counterfactual eventualities were a major item of analysis for rather it slow, counterfactual considering has lately emerged as a mode of research for different disciplines, such a lot significantly the social sciences. This quantity offers an outline of the present definitions and uses  Read more...

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However, such an argument hinges on a very broad understanding of the term “thought experiment”. If by a thought experiment we understand any cognitive action that somehow includes describing or imagining things differently than they actually are, (LT ) is surely true. Sadly, it then turns out to be a fairly uninteresting thesis. Not only does everyone believe it anyway, it also does not shed light on any interesting topic. Accordingly, to sharpen the thesis, I will take “thought experiments” to mean something more specific.

In other words, parallels and overlaps between models and counterfactual imaginations would exist, if there were a given function of counterfactual imagination for which a cognitive gain could be achieved by increasing the precision. Due to the variety of concurrent definitions of abstraction, idealization, and modeling, general delimitations to counterfactual imaginations can be given only hypothetically. For an abstraction, the generated entity – as already seen – need not be obviously false.

I want to draw a parallel to the way counterfictionals in scientific thought experiments relate to counterfactuals which figure in explanations of actual facts. In some pieces of fiction, which I would like to refer to as cognitive fictions, counterfictionals relate to actual-world counterfactuals in just this way. 4 5 6 David Lewis, “Truth in Fiction”, in: Philosophical Papers 1, Oxford 1983, pp. 261–280, p. 269. Cf. Lewis, “Truth”, pp. 270–273, and Daniel Dohrn, “Counterfactual Narrative Explanation”, in: Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 67/2009, pp.

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