• (Canada) IPA: /ˌkaʊntɚˈfæktʃuəl/
  • (British) IPA: /ˌkaʊn.tə(ɹ)ˈfæk.tʃu.əl/
  1. Contrary to the facts; untrue.
  2. Of or in comparison to a hypothetical state of the world.
Translations Noun

counterfactual (plural counterfactuals)

  1. A claim, hypothesis, or other belief that is contrary to the facts.
  2. A hypothetical state of the world, used to assess the impact of an action.
    • 2015, Lee Drutman, "Here's the real reason we don't have gun reform", Vox
      The implicit counterfactual — that these members would support gun control if not for the $1,000 they received from the NRA — seems unlikely to me.
  3. (philosophy) A conditional statement in which the conditional clause is false, as "If I had arrived on time . . .".
    • 1952, B. J. Diggs, "VI.—Counterfactual Conditionals," Mind, vol. 61, no. 244, page 513:
      In recent years there has been increasing discussion of the "problem of counterfactuals". One way of formulating this problem is as follows: "What is meant when one asserts a conditional statement, the antecedent of which is contrary to fact?"

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