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Grad Student

Or perhaps the Stalnaker-Lewis-Sprigge-Nute theory, or some permutation thereof? Donald Nute's (1975) "Counterfactuals", was, according to footnote 3 in Nute's (1975) "Counterfactuals and the Similarity of Worlds", accepted for publication before Lewis' (1973) Counterfactuals.


I am not sure I understand your disclaimer about malfeasance. Sprigge's paper came out the same year as Lewis's and two years after Stalnaker's. It would be difficult for there to be malfeasance with respect to publications that are earlier or effectively simultaneous.

Marcus Arvan

Anon: the malfeasance disclaimer is merely intended to address Stalnaker's and Lewis' failure to cite Sprigge in their later work (as co-originator of the possible-worlds analysis), not the possibility that they might have taken/stolen ideas from him.

Christopher Gauker

The basic idea of the Stalnaker-Lewis analysis was rather clearly anticipated in a paper by William Todd in Philosophy of Science, 1964, vol. 31, pp. 101-110. Todd writes: "When we allow for the possibility of the antecedent's being true in the case of a counterfactual, we are hypothetically substituting a different world for the actual one. It has to be supposed that this hypothetical world is as much like the actual one as possible so that we will have groundsfor saying that the consequent would be realized in such a world" (p. 108). Unfortunately, for him, the key idea is not very forcefully highlighted. The only place where I have ever seen a reference to this paper is in Jonathan Bennett's book on conditionals. After discovering it there, I then also cited it in my own.

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