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Review of The Rational Imagination by Ruth Byrne (2008)

by Stephen A. Butterfill

---Mind 117(468), pp. 1065-1069
--- links: external [doi: 10.1093/mind/fzn127]


This book develops a mental models approach to counterfactual thinking. It brings together a large body of empirical research by the author and collaborators, and interprets the findings in the light of some novel views about meaning. In this review, I argue that unless indicative conditional, counterfactual, and causal assertions really do all mean the same thing, the mental models discussed in The Rational Imagination are not adequate for explaining counterfactual and causal reasoning.