David Corfield counterfactual

Linear logic, Mozilla Rust?

Unless the historian assumes a kind of “miracle,” history would need to be revised to allow the counterfactual precedent in such a way that its conditions would have to be revised as well. Fogel should have asked how US history prior to 1890 had had to be different in order to allow the absence of railroads in 1890. The historian should look for a branching point“from which a permitted trajectory leads to a state where both the antecedent and the consequent obtain” (Elster1978: 191; see also Bennett 2003: 214 –21). Fogel should have examined the pos-sible world from ca. 1830, when railroads were actually introduced in the US until 1890; a huge task. (Weinryb)

As Lebow (2000) explains, difficulties in long-term counterfactual thinking result from three sources: the statistical improbability of multi-step counterfactuals, the interconnectedness of events, and the unpredictable effects of second-order counterfactuals.

Lebow, R. N. (2000). “What’s So Different about a Counterfactual?” World Politics, 52, pp. 550 – 85

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