In this paper I argue that the classic concept of eternity, as it is presented in Boethius, Anselm and Aquinas, must be understood to involve not only the claim that all temporal things are epistemically present to God, but also the claim that all temporal things areexistentially present to God insofar as they coexist timelessly in the eternal present. I further argue that the concept of eternity requires a tenseless view of time. If this is correct then the existence of (...) an eternal God logically depends on the truth of the tenseless account of time. I conclude by suggesting that the Christian theologian ought to reject a tenseless ontology. (shrink)
I insist that I was able to raise my hand, and I acknowledge that a law would have been broken had I done so, but I deny that I am therefore able to break a law. To uphold my instance of soft determinism, I need not claim any incredible powers. To uphold the compatibilism that I actually believe, I need not claim that such powers are even possible. My incompatibilist opponent is a creature of fiction, but he has his prototypes (...) in real life. He is modeled partly after Peter van Inwagen and partly on myself when I first worried about van Inwagen's argument against compatibilism. (shrink)
David Lewis (1941-2001) was Class of 1943 University Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University. His contributions spanned philosophical logic, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, metaphysics, and epistemology. In On the Plurality of Worlds, he defended his challenging metaphysical position, "modal realism." He was also the author of the books Convention, Counterfactuals, Parts of Classes, and several volumes of collected papers.
Tn this paper I explore and to an extent defend HS. The main philosophical challenges to HS come from philosophical views that say that nomic concepts-laws, chance, and causation-denote features of the world that fail to supervene on non-nomic features. Lewis rejects these views and has labored mightily to construct HS accounts of nomic concepts. His account of laws is fundamental to his program, since his accounts of the other nomic notions rely on it. Recently, a number of philosophers have (...) criticized Lewis's account, and Humean accounts of laws generally, for delivering, at best, a pale imitation ofthe genuine item. These philosophers think that the notion of law needed by science requires laws-if there are any-to be fundamental features of our world that are completely distinct from and not supervenient on the particular facts that they explain. I side with Lewis against these philosophers. Here I will argue that although Lewis-laws don't fulfill all our philosophical expectations, they do play the roles that science needs laws to play. The metaphysics and epistemology of Humean laws, and more specifically, Lewis-laws, are in much better shape than the metaphysics and epistemology of the main anti-Humean alternatives. However, I do have inisgivings about Lewis's account. Both he and his critics assume that the basic properties are so individuated so that the laws are not metaphysically necessary. If this assumption is rejected, then the question of Humean supervenience lapses. I conclude with a brief discussion of this position. (shrink)
This is the second volume of philosophical essays by one of the most innovative and influential philosophers now writing in English. Containing thirteen papers in all, the book includes both new essays and previously published papers, some of them with extensive new postscripts reflecting Lewis's current thinking. The papers in Volume II focus on causation and several other closely related topics, including counterfactual and indicative conditionals, the direction of time, subjective and objective probability, causation, explanation, perception, free will, and rational (...) decision. Throughout, Lewis analyzes global features of the world in such a way as to show that they might turn out to supervene on the spatiotemporal arrangement of local qualities. (shrink)
Counterfactuals is David Lewis' forceful presentation of and sustained argument for a particular view about propositions which express contrary to fact conditionals, including his famous defense of realism about possible worlds and his theory of laws of nature.
Several alleged counterexamples to the definition of 'intrinsic' proposed in Rae Langton and David Lewis, 'Defining "Intrinsic"', are unconvincing. Yet there are reasons for dissatisfaction, and room for improvement. One desirable change is to raise the standard of non-disjunctiveness, thereby putting less burden on contentious judgements of comparative naturalness. A second is to deal with spurious independence by throwing out just the disjunctive troublemakers, instead of throwing out disjunctive properties wholesale, and afterward reinstating those impeccably intrinsic disjunctive properties that are (...) not troublemakers. (The second of these changes makes the first more affordable.) A third, suggested by Brian Weatherson, would be to invoke the general principle that the intrinsic and the extrinsic characters of things are independent, rather than relying just on one special case of this principle; but it is none too obvious how to do this. (shrink)
This volume is devoted to Lewis's work in metaphysics and epistemology. Topics covered include properties, ontology, possibility, truthmaking, probability, the mind-body problem, vision, belief, and knowledge. The purpose of this collection, and the volumes that precede and follow it, is to disseminate more widely the work of an eminent and influential contemporary philosopher. The volume will serve as a useful work of reference for teachers and students of philosophy.
This is the first of a three-volume collection of David Lewis's most recent papers in all the areas to which he has made significant contributions. The purpose of this collection (and the two volumes to follow) is to disseminate even more widely the work of a preeminent and influential late twentieth-century philosopher. The papers are now offered in a readily accessible format. This first volume is devoted to Lewis's work on philosophical logic from the last twenty-five years. The topics covered (...) include: deploying the methods of formal semantics from artificial formalised languages to natural languages, model-theoretic investigations of intensional logic, contradiction, relevance, the differences between analog and digital representation, and questions arising from the construction of ambitious formalised philosophical systems. The volume will serve as an important reference tool for all philosophers and their students. (shrink)
This book takes up the central themes of Aristotle's metaphysical theory and the various transformations they undergo prior to their full expression in the Metaphysics. Aristotle's metaphysics is bedevilled by classic puzzles involving such notions as form, predication, universal, and substance, which result from his attempt to adapt the various requirements on primary substance developed in his earlier works so that they fit the very different metaphysical picture in his later work. Professor Lewis argues that Aristotle is himself aware of (...) most if not all of these difficulties and in the Metaphysics works hard to ensure the coherence of his theory. He presents Aristotle's views as a formal theory complete with axioms, definitions, and theorems. (shrink)
This volume is devoted to Lewis's work in ethics and social philosophy. Topics covered include the logic of obligation and permission; decision theory and its relation to the idea that beliefs might play the motivating role of desires; a subjectivist analysis of value; dilemmas in virtue ethics; the problem of evil; problems about self-prediction; social coordination, linguistic and otherwise; alleged duties to rescue distant strangers; toleration as a tacit treaty; nuclear warfare; and punishment. This collection, and the two preceding volumes, (...) will disseminate more widely the work of an eminent and influential contemporary philosopher. (shrink)
In this paper, Tyson E. Lewis challenges the dominant theoretical and practical educational responses to globalization. On the level of public policy, Lewis demonstrates the limitations of both neoliberal privatization and liberal calls for rehabilitating public schooling. On the level of pedagogy, Lewis breaks with the dominant liberal democratic tradition which focuses on the cultivation of democratic dispositions for cosmopolitan citizenship. Shifting focus, Lewis posits a new location for education out of bounds of the common sense of public versus private, (...) nationalism versus cosmopolitanism, inclusion versus exclusion, human versus civil rights. This is the space of the commonwealth whose actors cannot be identified as ‘citizens’ but are rather the anonymous multitude. In conclusion, Lewis finds a model for organizing this commonwealth in the work of Ivan Illich, whose learning networks speak to the urgent political and pedagogical need for exodus from the conceptual vocabulary that defines much of the contemporary field of educational theory. (shrink)
_ Convention_ was immediately recognized as a major contribution to the subject and its significance has remained undiminished since its first publication in 1969. Lewis analyzes social conventions as regularities in the resolution of recurring coordination problems-situations characterized by interdependent decision processes in which common interests are at stake. Conventions are contrasted with other kinds of regularity, and conventions governing systems of communication are given special attention.
In this last of our selection of papers from the London Medical Group Conference on Pain, Gilbert Lewis, through his experiences of living in New Guinea describes to us the various rites, rituals and uses of pain in societies other than our own. He outlines, by example, how what often seems the natural behaviour to us for helping a sufferer in fact, can make matters far worse for other peoples. Although different societies approach the problem of pain from many routes (...) the aim of all is to relieve pain for the sufferers. If the sufferer says he feels relief then that is surely what counts. (shrink)
Heidegger Beyond Deconstruction argues that Heidegger's question of being cannot be separated from the question of nature and culture, and that the history of being describes the growing predominance of culture and technology over nature, resulting in today's environmental crisis. It proposes that we turn to Heidegger's thought in order fully to understand this crisis. In doing so it is necessary to retrieve those elements of his thought which are most maligned by Derridean deconstruction: the pastoral, the homely, the local. (...) In a world coming to terms with the destructive nature of ‘globalisation' and the networks of distribution and travel which lacerate the globe, we are witnessing a gradual return to the ‘locally produced', the ‘organic', the ‘micro-generation' of energy unplugged from the national and international grid: in other words, a return to the ‘near'. The necessities and problems inherent in this return, which the ‘environmental movement' must address, are already to be found in Heidegger's thought. Lewis confronts this thought with that of Lacan, Levinas, Žižek, and Marx in order to reinvent the element to which deconstruction usually confines it and bring it into a position from which to confront the most pressing ethical and political questions of today. (shrink)
Realism and metaphysics.--Ultimates and a way of looking.--Religion and the paranormal.--Quinton, A., Lewis, H. D., Williams, B. Life after death.--Lewis, H. D., Flew, A. Survival.--Shoemaker, S., Lewis, H. D. Immortality and dualism.--The belief in life after death.--The person of Christ.
C. S. Lewis takes us on a profound journey through both heaven and hell in this engaging allegorical tale. Using his extraordinary descriptive powers, Lewis introduces us to supernatural beings who will change the way we think about good and evil.
Discourse dynamics, pragmatics, and indefinites Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-30 DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9882-y Authors Karen S. Lewis, Department of Philosophy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
In this essay Tyson Lewis reevaluates Jean-Jacques Rousseau's assessment of the pedagogical value of fables in Emile's education using Giorgio Agamben's theory of poetic production and Thomas Keenan's theory of the inherent ambiguity of the fable. From this perspective, the “unreadable” nature of the fable that Rousseau exposed is not simply the result of a child's innocence or developmental immaturity, but is rather a structural quality of the fable as such. Moving from a discussion of Rousseau's description of the fable (...) and its relation to early childhood development, Lewis then telescopes outward into an analysis of Emile as a reenactment of the paradoxes of the fable. While Rousseau critiqued the pedagogical value of the fable, his own pedagogical project is informed by many of the qualities that he attributed to the fable. This return of the fable is enacted through Rousseau's writing on three interconnected levels: the question of the maxim, the paradox of truth, and the paradox of freedom. Lewis argues that if we take seriously the textually fabulous dimension of Emile, then the reader is left exposed to the very same anxieties as a child who is confronted with the ambiguity of the fable. In a concluding gesture, Lewis speculates about what Emile's fabulous dimension means for the practice of educational philosophy itself. (shrink)
In Reforming Theological Anthropology, F. LeRon Shults draws from work on relationality in other disciplines to suggest ways in which theological anthropology might profitably be reformulated. While the task is worthwhile, the method promising and the results suggestive, much fine-tuning remains to be done.Paul Lewis review is followed by a brief response from F. LeRon Shults.
Many contemporary philosophers accept Hume's Dictum (HD), according to which there are no metaphysically necessary connections between distinct, intrinsically typed entities. Tacit in Lewis's work is a potential motivation for HD, according to which one should accept HD as presupposed by the best account of the range of metaphysical possibilities---namely, a combinatorial account, applied to spatiotemporal fundamentalia. Here I elucidate and assess this Ludovician motivation for HD. After refining HD and surveying its key, recurrent role in Lewis’s work, I present (...) Lewis’s appeal to HD as providing a broadly axiomatic generating basis for the space of metaphysical modality, and canvas the prima facie advantages of the resulting combinatorial principle---HD (L-combinatorialism)---as being principled, extensionally adequate and modally reductive. Most criticisms of Lewis's combinatorialism have targeted seeming ways in which the theory overgenerates the desired space; I rather argue that HD (L-combinatorialism) seriously undergenerates the desired space in three different ways. For each way I argue that available means of overcoming the undergeneration either fail to close the gap, undermine the claim that HD (L-combinatorialism) is a principled generator of metaphysical modal space, undermine the reductive status of Lewis's combinatorialism, or call into question the truth of HD. (shrink)
Delmas Lewis has argued that the tenseless view of time is committed to a view of personal identity according to which no one can be held morally responsible for their actions. His argument, if valid, is a serious objection to the tenseless view. The purpose of this paper is to defend the detenser by pointing out the pitfalls in Lewis’ argument.
David Lewis's book 'On the Plurality of Worlds' mounts an extended defense of the thesis of modal realism, that the world we inhabit the entire cosmos of which we are a part is but one of a vast plurality of worlds, or cosmoi, all causally and spatiotemporally isolated from one another. The purpose of this article is to provide an accessible summary of the main positions and arguments in Lewis's book.
David Lewis's account of intentionality is a version of what he calls 'global descriptivism'. The rough idea is that the correct interpretation of one's total theory is the one (among the admissible interpretations) that come closest to making it true. I give an exposition of this account, as I understand it, and try to bring out some of its consequences. I argue that there is a tension between Lewis's global descriptivism and his rejection of a linguistic account of the intentionality (...) of thought. I distinguish some different senses in which Lewis's theory might permit, or be committed to, a kind of holism about intentional content, and I consider the sense in which Lewis's account might be said to be an internalist account, and the motivation for this kind of internalism. (shrink)
A major criticism of David Lewis’ counterfactual theory of causation is that it allows too many things to count as causes, especially since Lewis allows, in addition to events, absences to be causes as well. Peter Menzies has advanced this concern under the title “the problem of profligate causation.” In this paper, I argue that the problem of profligate causation provides resources for exposing a tension between Lewis’ acceptance of absence causation and his modal realism. The result is a different (...) problem of profligate causation—one that attacks the internal consistency of Lewisian metaphysics rather than employing common sense judgments or intuitions that conflict with Lewis’ extensive list of causes. (shrink)
In “What Puzzling Pierre Does not Believe”, Lewis (, 412‐4) argues that the sentences (1) Pierre believes that London is pretty and (2) Pierre believes that London is not pretty both truly describe Kripke’s well‐known situation involving puzzling Pierre (). Lewis also argues that this situation is not one according to which Pierre believes either the proposition (actually) expressed by (3) London is pretty or the proposition (actually) expressed by (4) London is not pretty. These claims, Lewis suggests, provide a (...) starting point from which a correct resolution of Kripke’s puzzles about belief () can be developed. At the end of his paper (, p. 414‐7), Lewis considers and replies to a number of potential objections to his position. According to one of these, Lewis’s contentions regarding (1)‐(4) cannot all be true because ‘believes that’ and ‘believes the proposition that’ are synonymous. Although the objection Lewis considers is unsound and his response to it correct, a minor variant of that objection provides significant reason to be skeptical of his contentions. This variant, moreover, is not persuasively addressed by anything either Lewis or any other well‐known defender of this sort of view (such as Stalnaker ) has had to say on the matter. All of this is relevant, moreover, not 2 only when it comes to assessing Lewis’s contentions regarding (1)‐ (4), but also when it comes to drawing lessons from certain standard objections to the view that the propositional objects of belief and assertion are sets of metaphysically possible worlds. (shrink)
It is often argued that the great quantity of evil in our world makes God’s existence less likely than a lesser quantity would, and this, presumably, because the probability that some evils are gratuitous increases as the overall quantity of evil increases. Often, an additive approach to quantifying evil is employed in such arguments. In this paper, we examine C. S. Lewis’ objection to the additive approach, arguing that although he is correct to reject this approach, there is a sense (...) in which he underestimates the quantity of pain. However, the quantity of pain in that sense does not significantly increase the probability that some pain is gratuitous. Therefore, the quantitative argument likely fails. (shrink)