Alternative World-Histories

  • Sarah Broadie


We act so as to make things better than they would have been but for the action; we are horrified by an uncontrollable catastrophe because it made things so much worse than they would have been without it. Such attitudes are reasonable only if it is reasonable to make the associated counterfactual conditional judgments. But making such judgments cannot be reasonable if one holds both (1) that this world is absolutely and uniquely actual (‘absolute actualism'), and (2) that everything is settled (‘ES'). Determinism (strictly understood) figures as the most obvious example of ES theory, but ES can occur in an indeterministic form too: both forms are considered.

Philosophical Papers Vol.31(2) 2002: 117-143

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eISSN: 0556-8641