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Paper   IPM / Philosophy / 14607
School of Analytic Philosophy
  Title:   On the Significance of Difference-Making Principles
  Author(s):  Hamid Vahid
  Status:   Published
  Journal: Metaphilosophy
  No.:  4-5
  Vol.:  46
  Year:  2015
  Pages:   564-574
  Supported by:  IPM
  Abstract:
It has been claimed that difference-making plays important roles in both metaphysics and epistemology. The idea is that facts often make a difference to other facts. Thus, causes are said to make a difference to their effects, and the world is thought to make a difference to what is believed. One way to cash out this idea is in terms of the notion of counterfactual dependence between the facts in question. It has recently been objected by some philosophers, however, that the counterfactual-dependence account misrepresents the difference-making idea prompting them to offer a different, weaker construal of the idea in question which, they claim, illuminates a number of problems in both epistemology and metaphysics. In this paper, while acknowledging that the difference-making idea is a genuine constraint on some of our concepts, I will challenge the claim that the weaker interpretation has significant philosophical potentials and, having delineated its real function, spell out the lessons that should be drawn from its failure.

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