The standard philosophical analysis of counterfactual conditionals – the Lewis-Stalnaker analysis – analyzes the truth-conditions of counterfactuals in terms of nearby possible worlds. This paper demonstrates that this analysis is false. shows that it is a serious epistemic and metaphysical possibility that our “world” is a massive computer simulation, and that if the Lewis-Stalnaker analysis of counterfactuals is correct, then it should extend seamlessly to the case that our world is a computer simulation, in the form of a possible-simulation semantics. then shows that a Lewis-Stalnaker-style possible-simulation semantics clearly fails as an analysis of the truth-conditions of counterfactuals in two types of simulated worlds: Humean Simulations and Necessitarian simulations. then considers and answers several objections. Finally, draws several skeptical lessons about counterfactuals.
Arvan, Marcus. 2014. A unified explanation of quantum phenomena? The case for the peer-to-peer simulation hypothesis as an interdisciplinary research program. The Philosophical Forum 45(4). 433–446.10.1111/phil.12043)| false
Kripke, Saul. 1972. Naming and necessity. In Donald Davidson & Gilbert Harman (eds.), Semantics of natural language, 253–355, 763–769. Dordrecht: D. Reidel. Revised edition published in 1980 as Naming and Necessity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Kripke, Saul. 1972. Naming and necessity. In Donald Davidson & Gilbert Harman (eds.), Semantics of natural language, 253–355, 763–769. Dordrecht: D. Reidel. Revised edition published in 1980 as Naming and Necessity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.10.1007/978-94-010-2557-7_9)| false
Lewis, David K. 1973. Counterfactuals. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers; and Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, Reprinted with revisions, 1986.
Sider, T. 2006. Beyond the Humphrey objection. Unpublished manuscript.
Stalnaker, Robert. 1968. A theory of conditionals. In Nicholas Rescher (ed.), Studies in logical theory (American Philosophical Quarterly Monograph Series: Volume 2), Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 98–112.
Weatherson, Brian. 2014. “David Lewis”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2014/entries/david-lewis/, accessed 11 March 2016.