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Counterfactuals by Christopher Prendergast

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Counterfactuals are everywhere. But what are they? And how do they both help and hinder us in our daily lives? Counterfactuals are works of imagination which express something which hasn't happened or simple isn't the case. For example, 'if kangaroos didn't have tails, they would topple over.' or the contemporary usage of things like YOLO and FOMO. These kind of 'what if...?' questions are a creative and dynamic aspect of being human. However, they are also speculative and relative and can become problematic when dressed up as 'facts'. Christopher Prendergast provides us with the first introduction to counterfactuals as a phenomenon which points to their importance and potential but also their serious limitations within a 'post-truth' society. While counterfactuals are a key part of mathematical and scientific enquiry, this is the first book to explore their meaning right across the humanities including literature, philosophy, classics, psychology and ethics (to name but a few). Counterfactuals takes us on a timely and urgent journey to understanding how and we we live in a counterfactual world.

Author Biography

Christopher Prendergast is Professor Emeritus in French, University of Cambridge, UK, Honorary Professor, University of Copenhagen, Denmark and fellow of the British Academy. He is is the general editor of the Penguin translation of Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu, co-editor of World Reader, an anthology of world literature. He writes for the LRB, The Independent, The New York Review of Books and The New Left Review.
Release date NZ
February 21st, 2019
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Bloomsbury Academic
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