My recent experience with refereeing for journals has had an inordinate commonality. I’m seeing a greater percentage of counterfactual analyses playing a role in papers than I can ever recall. I wouldn’t be surprised if my experience is idiosyncratic, and perhaps I notice these things more than others since counterfactual analyses are a pet peeve of mine–it is a sign of the lack of quality control in our discipline, since it has been known for more than two decades how precarious such analyses are.
My proposal is that no article containing a counterfactual account of anything should be allowed without an explicit explanation of how that account avoids the conditional fallacy described by Shope in his 1979 Journal of Philosophy piece (or whatever emendation of Shope’s results are favored). Upon encountering such an analysis, it is usually an easy task to construct counterexamples to the account, but something more is needed than simply rebutting all the counterexamples one can think of or that are brought to one’s attention. Responsible authors ought to be able to say why their particular counterfactual account can avoid the recipe that can be elicited from Shope’s piece (with an important precursor in Chisholm’s underappreciated “The Problem of Empiricism,” though Chisholm doesn’t attempt to generalize to all counterfactual theories).