Counterfactual Statement

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A Counterfactual Statement is a statement that expresses a state that goes against fact.



  • (Wikipedia, 2015) ⇒ Retrieved:2015-11-17.
    • A counterfactual conditional abbreviated , is a subjunctive conditional containing an if-clause which is contrary to fact. The term counterfactual was coined by Nelson Goodman in 1947, [1] extending Roderick Chisholm's (1946) notion of a "contrary-to-fact conditional". [2] The study of counterfactual speculation has increasingly engaged the interest of scholars in a wide range of domains such as philosophy, [3] psychology, [4] cognitive psychology, [5] history, [6] political science, [7] economics, [8] social psychology, [9] law, [10] organizational theory, [11] marketing, [12] and epidemiology. [13] In 1748, when defining causation, David Hume referred to a counterfactual case:
  1. Goodman, N., "The Problem of Counterfactual Conditionals", The Journal of Philosophy, Vol.44, No.5, (27 February 1947), pp.113-128.
  2. Chisholm, R.M., "The Contrary-to-Fact Conditional", Mind, Vol.55, No.220, (October 1946), pp.289-307.
  3. Goodman, N., "The Problem of Counterfactual Conditionals", The Journal of Philosophy, Vol.44, No.5, (27 February 1947), pp.113-128; Brown, R, & Watling, J., "Counterfactual Conditionals", Mind, Vol.61, No.242, (April 1952), pp.222-233; Parry, W.T., "Reëxamination of the Problem of Counterfactual Conditionals", The Journal of Philosophy, Vol.54, No.4, (14 February 1957), pp.85-94; Cooley, J.C., "Professor Goodman’s Fact, Fiction, & Forecast”, The Journal of Philosophy, Vol.54, No.10, (9 May 1957), pp.293-311; Goodman, N., "Parry on Counterfactuals", The Journal of Philosophy, Vol.54, No.14, (4 July 1957), pp.442-445; Goodman, N., "Reply to an Adverse Ally", The Journal of Philosophy, Vol.54, No.17, (15 August 1957), pp.531-535; Lewis, D., Counterfactuals, Basil Blackwell, (Oxford), 1973, etc.
  4. Fillenbaum, S., "Information Amplified: Memory for Counterfactual Conditionals", Journal of Experimental Psychology, Vol.102, No.1, (January 1974), pp.44-49; Crawford, M.T. & McCrea, S.M., "When Mutations meet Motivations: Attitude Biases in Counterfactual Thought", Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol.40, No.1, (January 2004), pp.65-74, etc.
  5. Kahneman, D. & Tversky, A., "The Simulation Heuristic", pp.201-208 in Kahneman, D., Slovic, P. & Tversky, A. (eds), Judgement Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases, Cambridge University Press, (Cambridge), 1982; Sherman, S.J. & McConnell, A.R., "Dysfunctional Implications of Counterfactual Thinking: When Alternatives to reality Fail Us", pp.199-231 in Roese, N.J. & Olson, J.M. (eds.), What Might Have Been: The Social Psychology of Counterfactual Thinking, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, (Mahwah), 1995;Nasco, S.A. & Marsh, K.L., "Gaining Control Through Counterfactual Thinking", Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol.25, No.5, (May 1999), pp.556-568; McCloy, R. & Byrne, R.M.J., "Counterfactual Thinking About Controllable Events", Memory and Cognition, Vol.28, No.6, (September 2000), pp.1071-1078; Byrne, R.M.J., "Mental Models and Counterfactual Thoughts About What Might Have Been", Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Vol.6, No.10, (October 2002), pp.426-431; Thompson, V.A. & Byrne, R.M.J., "Reasoning Counterfactually: Making Inferences About Things That Didn't Happen", Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Vol.28, No.6, (November 2002), pp.1154-1170, etc.
  6. Greenberg, M. (ed.), The Way It Wasn’t: Great Science Fiction Stories of Alternate History, Citadel Twilight, (New York), 1996; Dozois, G. & Schmidt, W. (eds.), Roads Not Taken: Tales of Alternative History, The Ballantine Publishing Group, (New York), 1998; Sylvan, D. & Majeski, S., "A Methodology for the Study of Historical Counterfactuals", International Studies Quarterly, Vol.42, No.1, (March 1998), pp.79-108; Ferguson, N., (ed.), Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals, Basic Books, (New York), 1999; Cowley, R. (ed.), What If?: The World’s Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might have Been, Berkley Books, (New York), 2000; Cowley, R. (ed.), What If? 2: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might have Been, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, (New York), 2001, etc.
  7. Fearon, J.D., "Counterfactuals and Hypothesis Testing in Political Science", World Politics, Vol.43, No.2, (January 1991), pp.169-195; Tetlock, P.E. & Belkin, A. (eds.), Counterfactual Thought Experiments in World Politics, Princeton University Press, (Princeton), 1996; Lebow, R.N., "What’s so Different about a Counterfactual?", World Politics, Vol.52, No.4, (July 2000), pp.550-585; Chwieroth, J.M., "Counterfactuals and the Study of the American Presidency", Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol.32, No.2, (June 2002), pp.293-327, etc.
  8. Cowan, R. & Foray, R., "Evolutionary Economics and the Counterfactual Threat: On the Nature and Role of Counterfactual History as an Empirical Tool in Economics", Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Vol.12, No.5, (December 2002), pp.539-562, etc.
  9. Roese, N.J. & Olson, J.M. (eds.), What Might Have Been: The Social Psychology of Counterfactual Thinking, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, (Mahwah), 1995; Sanna, L.J., "Defensive Pessimism, Optimism, and Simulating Alternatives: Some Ups and Downs of Prefactual and Counterfactual Thinking", Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol.71, No.5, (November 1996), pp1020-1036; Roese, N.J., "Counterfactual Thinking", Psychological Bulletin, Vol.121, No.1, (January 1997), pp.133-148; Sanna, L.J., "Defensive Pessimism and Optimism: The Bitter-Sweet Influence of Mood on Performance and Prefactual and Counterfactual Thinking", Cognition and Emotion, Vol.12, No.5, (September 1998), pp.635-665; Sanna, L.J. & Turley-Ames, K.J., "Counterfactual Intensity", European Journal of Social Psychology, Vol.30, No.2, (March/April 2000), pp.273-296; Sanna, L.J., Parks, C.D., Meier, S., Chang, E.C., Kassin, B.R., Lechter, J.L., Turley-Ames, K.J. & Miyake, T.M., "A Game of Inches: Spontaneous Use of Counterfactuals by Broadcasters During Major League Baseball Playoffs", Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Vol.33, No.3, (March 2003), pp.455-475, etc.
  10. Strassfeld, R.N., "If...: Counterfactuals in the Law", George Washington Law Review, Volume 60, No.2, (January 1992), pp.339-416; Spellman, B.A. & Kincannon, A., "The Relation between Counterfactual (“but for”) and Causal reasoning: Experimental Findings and Implications for Juror’s Decisions", Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol.64, No.4, (Autumn 2001), pp.241-264; Prentice, R.A. & Koehler, J.J., "A Normality Bias in Legal Decision Making", Cornell Law Review, Vol.88, No.3, (March 2003), pp.583-650, etc.
  11. Creyer, E.H. & Gürhan, Z., "Who's to Blame? Counterfactual Reasoning and the Assignment of Blame", Psychology and Marketing, Vol.14, No.3, (May 1997), pp.209-307; Zeelenberg, M., van Dijk, W.W., van der Plight, J., Manstead, A.S.R., van Empelen, P., & Reinderman, D., "Emotional Reactions to the Outcomes of Decisions: The Role of Counterfactual Thought in the Experience of Regret and Disappointment", Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Vol.75, No.2, (August 1998), pp.117-141; Naquin, C.E. & Tynan, R.O., "The Team Halo Effect: Why Teams Are Not Blamed for Their Failures", Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol.88, No.2, (April 2003), pp.332-340; Naquin, C.E., "The Agony of Opportunity in Negotiation: Number of Negotiable Issues, Counterfactual Thinking, and Feelings of Satisfaction", Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Vol.91, No.1, (May 2003), pp.97-107, etc.
  12. Hetts, J.J., Boninger, D.S., Armor, D.A., Gleicher, F. & Nathanson, A., "The Influence of Anticipated Counterfactual Regret on Behavior", Psychology & Marketing, Vol.17, No.4, (April 2000), pp.345-368; Landman, J. & Petty, R., "“It Could Have Been You”: How States Exploit Counterfactual Thought to Market Lotteries", Psychology & Marketing, Vol.17, No.4, (April 2000), pp.299-321; McGill, A.L., "Counterfactual Reasoning in Causal Judgements: Implications for Marketing", Psychology & Marketing, Vol.17, No.4, (April 2000), pp.323-343; Roese, N.J., "Counterfactual Thinking and Marketing: Introduction to the Special Issue", Psychology & Marketing', Vol.17, No.4, (April 2000), pp.277-280; Walchli, S.B. & Landman, J., "Effects of Counterfactual Thought on Postpurchase Consumer Affect", Psychology & Marketing, Vol.20, No.1, (January 2003), pp.23-46, etc.
  13. Randerson, J., "Fast action would have saved millions", New Scientist, Vol.176, No.2372, (7 December 2002), p.19; Haydon, D.T., Chase-Topping, M., Shaw, D.J., Matthews, L., Friar, J.K., Wilesmith, J. & Woolhouse, M.E.J., "The Construction and Analysis of Epidemic Trees With Reference to the 2001 UK Foot-and-Mouth Outbreak", Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, Vol.270, No.1511, (22 January 2003), pp.121-127, etc.



  • (Lewis, 2001) ⇒ David K. Lewis. (2001). “Counterfactuals, 2nd edition." Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN:0631224254
    • BOOK OVERVIEW: "Counterfactuals" is David Lewis's forceful presentation of and sustained argument for a particular view about propositions which express contrary-to-fact conditionals, including his famous defense of realism about possible worlds. Since its original publication in 1973, it has become a classic of contemporary philosophy, and is essential reading for anyone interested in the logic and metaphysics of counterfactuals. The book also includes an appendix of related writings by Lewis.