They are facts not about what is -- the... - Deepstash

They are facts not about what is -- the 'actual' -- but about what could or could not be. In order to distinguish them from the ac­tual, they are called counterfactuals. Suppose that some future space mission visited a remote planet in another solar system left a stainless-steel box containing among other things the critical edition of, say, William Blake's poems. That the poetry book is subsequently sit­ting somewhere on that planet is a factual property of it. That the words in it could be read is a counterfactual property, which is true regardless of whether those words will ever be read.

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Things that have not happened -- but could happen -- are the things that constitute the world of counterfactuals, a neglected area of scientific theory.

A luminous guide to how the radical new science of counterfactuals can reveal the full scope of our universe. There is a vast class of properties, which science has so far neglected, that relate not only to what is true the actual but to what could be true: the counterfactual. This is the science of can and can't.

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