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Abstract
If one flips an unbiased coin a million times, there are 2^{1,000,000} series of possible heads/tails sequences, any one of which might be the sequence that obtains, and each of which is equally likely to obtain. So it seems (1) 'If I had tossed a fair coin one million times, it might have landed heads every time' is true. But as several authors have pointed out, (2) 'If I had tossed a fair coin a million times, it wouldn't have come up heads every time' will be counted as true in everyday contexts. And according to David Lewis' influential semantics for counterfactuals, (1) and (2) are contradictories. We have a puzzle. We must either (A) deny that (2) is true, (B) deny that (1) is true, or (C) deny that (1) and (2) are contradictories, thus rejecting Lewis' semantics. In this paper I discuss and criticize the proposals of David Lewis and more recently J. Robert G. Williams which solve the puzzle by taking option (B). I argue that we should opt for either (A) or (C).
Original language  English 

Pages (fromto)  351360 
Number of pages  10 
Journal  Synthese 
Volume  179 
Issue number  3 
DOIs  
Publication status  Published  Apr 2011 
Keywords
 Atypical events
 Counterfactual scepticism
 Counterfactuals
 David Lewis
 Quasimiracles
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 1 Finished

AHRC  Basic Knowledge: Basic Knowledge
Wright, C. J. G.
Arts and Humanities Research Council
1/09/07 → 31/08/12
Project: Standard