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.
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)
A collection of twelve essays by John Perry and two essays he co-authored, this book deals with various problems related to "self-locating beliefs": the sorts of beliefs one expresses with indexicals and demonstratives, like "I" and "this." Postscripts have been added to a number of the essays discussing criticisms by authors such as Gareth Evans and Robert Stalnaker. Included with such well-known essays as "Frege on Demonstratives," "The Problem of the Essential Indexical," "From Worlds to Situations," and "The Prince (...) and the Phone Booth" are a number of important essays that have been less accessible and that discuss important aspects of Perry's views, referred to as "Critical Referentialism," on the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
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)
There has been growing interest in, and scholarly attention to, issues and questions that arise within the subject matter domain we may call "human rights theory". See, in particular, Amartya Sen, "Elements of a Theory of Human Rights," 32 Philosophy & Public Affairs 315 (2004); James W. Nickel, Making Sense of Human Rights (rev. ed. 2006); Michael J. Perry, Toward a Theory of Human Rights: Religion, Law, Courts (2007); James Griffin, On Human Rights (2008); Nicholas Wolterstorff, Justice: Rights and (...) Wrongs (2008). This essay - a version of which will appear in a multi-authored collection of essays to be published by Oxford University Press in 2009 - is intended as a contribution to human rights theory. These are the principal questions, or sets of questions, I address in the essay:1. What is the morality of human rights - by which I mean the morality that, according to the International Bill of Human Rights, is the principal warrant for the law of human rights?2. How does the morality of human rights warrant the law of human rights?3. Some human-rights-claims are legal claims, but some are moral claims, and some are both. What does a human-rights-claim of the legal sort mean? A human-rights-claim of the moral sort? And when does it make sense to think of a right that only some human beings have - children, for example - as a human right?4. Is there a plausible secular ground for the morality of human rights?5. At the end of the proverbial day, what difference does it make - why should we care - if there is no plausible secular ground for the morality of human rights?Comments and questions welcome. (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.
Situation semantics was originally conceived as an alternative to extensional model theory and possible world semantics especially suited to the analysis of various problematic constructions, including naked-infinitive perception verbs (Barwise 1981) and belief-reports (Barwise and Perry 1981a, 1981b). In its earliest forms, the central ideas were.
Philosophers and logicians use the term “indexical” for words such as “I”, “you” and “tomorrow”. Demonstratives such as “this” and “that” and demonstratives phrases such as “this man” and “that computer” are usually reckoned as a subcategory of indexicals. (Following [Kaplan, 1989a].) The “context-dependence” of indexicals is often taken as a defining feature: what an indexical designates shifts from context to context. But there are many kinds of shiftiness, with corresponding conceptions of context. Until we clarify what we mean by (...) “context”, this defining feature remains unclear. In sections 1–3, which are largely drawn from [Perry, forthcoming(a)], I try to clarify the sense in which indexicals are context-dependent and make some distinctions among the ways indexicals depend on context. In sections 3–6, I contrast indexicality with another phenomenon that I call “unarticulated constituents.”. (shrink)
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)
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.
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)
This paper1 is the ﬁrst in a series of two, in which we (i) explore some aspects of heterogeneous systems of representation and communication2 (ii) show how American Sign Language (ASL) exhibits some of those features; (iii) draw some morals for the design of interfaces. This paper explores (i) at some length and ends with a brief look at (ii). Heterogeneous systems of representation and communication are systems that combine representations whose meanings work on different principles, such as pictures and (...) words. (We will try to reserve the word “language” for natural languages, like English and American Sign Language (ASL), and not use it for just any system of structured representations.) This talk reﬂects work that we have been doing in collaboration with Cathy Haas of the Archimedes Project at CSLI and Bill Stokoe of Gallaudet University, having to do with richly grounded meaning in ASL. Richly grounded meaning or RGM is a generalization of what Peirce called “iconicity”; the symbol and what it symbolizes are naturally rather than arbitrarily connected.3 The key word here is “arbitrary”; probably most RGM symbols are conventional in the sense developed by David Lewis in Convention (), but there is a natural connection between the symbol and what it symbolizes. The traditional word instead of “natural” might be “resemblance”. We emphasize that what is in question is something psychological; a robust cognitive correspondence between properties of a symbol (which must have enough interesting properties to ground such a relation, hence “richly grounded”) and properties of that which is symbolized. Resemblance is too restrictive. There are. (shrink)
Jaegwon Kim définissait une propriété intrinsèque comme une propriété compatible avec le fait que l'objet ne serait accompagné d'aucun autre être contingent. Mais cela impliquerait que la solitude serait une propriété intrinsèque, or c'est une propriété extrinsèque. Les auteurs définissent une propriété intrinsèque de base comme une propriété indépendante de la solitude et de l'accompagnement et qui n'est ni une propriété disjonctive ni une négation de propriété disjonctive. Deux doubles intrinsèques sont des objets qui ont toutes les mêmes propriétés intrinsèques (...) de base. Une propriété intrinsèque peut dès lors être définie comme une propriété qui ne peut jamais différer entre deux doubles. Cette définition est ensuite appliquée à différents problèmes. Si les lois de la nature sont absolument nécessaires ou qu'un être nécessaire existe, de nombreuses connexions deviendraient alors des propriétés intrinsèques et il sera nécessaire de conserver un sens à la possibilité que ces connexions nécessaires auraient pu ne pas exister. Les propriétés dispositionnelles seront intrinsèques ou non, selon la conception des lois de la nature. Il est possible de suivre les conséquences de la définition, en amendant éventuellement d'autres concepts. La définition peut aussi s'appliquer aux relations. Les auteurs comparent aussi leur définition à d'autres définitions antérieurement données par David Lewis et Peter Vallentyne. Jaegwon Kim had defined an intrinsic property as a property that does not imply that the object is accompanied by another contingent being. But this would imply that loneliness would be an intrinsic property, whereas it is an extrinsic property. The authors define a basic intrinsic property as a property independent from accompaniment or loneliness and which is neither a disjunctive property nor a negation of a disjunctive property. Two intrinsic duplicates are objects which have all the same basic intrinsic properties. An intrinsic property can be defined as a property which can never differ between duplicates. This definition is then applied to different problems. If laws of nature are necessary or if a necessary being exists, many connections will turn out to be intrinsic properties and it will be necessary to keep a sense of possibility according to which those necessary connections could have not obtained. Dispositions will be intrinsic or extrinsic depending on the conception of the laws of nature. It is possible to follow this definition of intrinsicness if one amends other concepts. The definition can also be applied to relations. The article ends by comparing this definition with previous ones by David Lewis and Peter Vallentyne. (shrink)
Most Americans are religious believers. Among these there is disagreement about many fundamental religious/moral matters. Because the United States is both such a religious country and such a religiously pluralistic country, the issue of the proper role of religion in politics is extremely important to political debate. In Religion in Politics, Michael Perry addresses a fundamental question: what role may religious arguments play, if any, either in public debate about what political choices to make or as a basis of (...) political choice? He is principally concerned with political choices that ban or otherwise disfavor one or another sort of human conduct based on the view that the conduct is immoral. He divides the controversy into two debates: the constitutionally proper role of religious arguments in politics, and a related, but distinct, debate about the morally proper role. Perry concludes that political choices about the morality of human conduct should not be based on religion. The newest work by one of the most important constitutional theorists writing today, Religion in Politics is sure to spark a new debate on the subject. (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)
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)
'I never can catch myself at any time without a perception, and never can observe any thing but the perception.' These famous words of David Hume, on his inability to perceive the self, set the stage for JeeLoo Liu and John Perry's collection of essays on self-awareness and self-knowledge. This volume connects recent scientific studies on consciousness with the traditional issues about the self explored by Descartes, Locke and Hume. Experts in the field offer contrasting perspectives on matters such (...) as the relation between consciousness and self-awareness, the notion of personhood and the epistemic access to one's own thoughts, desires or attitudes. The volume will be of interest to philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists, cognitive scientists and others working on the central topics of consciousness and the self. (shrink)
The following statement is a report of the Committee on Philosophy in Education of the American Philosophical Association and was approved by the Association's Board of Officers in December, 1958. The Committee was composed of the following: C. W. Hendel, Chairman, H. G. Alexander, R. M. Chisholm, Max Fisch, Lucius Garvin, Douglas Morgan, A. E. Murphy, Charner Perry and R. G. Turnbull. Primary responsibility for the preparation of this report belonged to a subcommittee composed of Douglas N. (...) Morgan, Chairman, and Charner Perry. (shrink)
In the face of ongoing religious conflicts and unending culture wars, what are we to make of liberalism's promise that it alone can arbitrate between church and state? In this wide-ranging study, John Perry examines the roots of our thinking on religion and politics, placing the early-modern founders of liberalism in conversation with today's theologians and political philosophers. -/- From the story of Antigone to debates about homosexuality and bans on religious attire, it is clear that liberalism's promise to (...) solve all theo-political conflict is a false hope. The philosophy connecting John Locke to John Rawls seeks a world free of tragic dilemmas, where there can be no Antigones. Perry rejects this as an illusion. Disputes like the culture wars cannot be adequately comprehended as border encroachments presided over by an impartial judge. Instead, theo-political conflict must be considered a contest of loyalties within each citizen and believer. Drawing on critics of Rawls ranging from Michael Sandel to Stanley Hauerwas, Perry identifies what he calls a 'turn to loyalty' by those who recognize the inadequacy of our usual thinking on the public place of religion. The Pretenses of Loyalty offers groundbreaking analysis of the overlooked early work of Locke, where liberalism's founder himself opposed toleration. -/- Perry discovers that Locke made a turn to loyalty analogous to that of today's communitarian critics. Liberal toleration is thus more sophisticated, more theologically subtle, and ultimately more problematic than has been supposed. It demands not only governmental neutrality (as Rawls believed) but also a reworked political theology. Yet this must remain under suspicion for Christians because it places religion in the service of the state. Perry concludes by suggesting where we might turn next, looking beyond our usual boundaries to possibilities obscured by the liberalism we have inherited. (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.
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.
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.
It is often assumed that graphemes are a crucial level of orthographic representation above letters. Current connectionist models of reading, however, do not address how the mapping from letters to graphemes is learned. One major challenge for computational modeling is therefore developing a model that learns this mapping and can assign the graphemes to linguistically meaningful categories such as the onset, vowel, and coda of a syllable. Here, we present a model that learns to do this in English for strings (...) of any letter length and any number of syllables. The model is evaluated on error rates and further validated on the results of a behavioral experiment designed to examine ambiguities in the processing of graphemes. The results show that the model (a) chooses graphemes from letter strings with a high level of accuracy, even when trained on only a small portion of the English lexicon; (b) chooses a similar set of graphemes as people do in situations where different graphemes can potentially be selected; (c) predicts orthographic effects on segmentation which are found in human data; and (d) can be readily integrated into a full-blown model of multi-syllabic reading aloud such as CDP++ (Perry, Ziegler, & Zorzi, 2010). Altogether, these results suggest that the model provides a plausible hypothesis for the kind of computations that underlie the use of graphemes in skilled reading. (shrink)
Introduction to Philosophy, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive topically organized collection of classical and contemporary philosophy available. Building on the exceptionally successful tradition of previous editions, this edition for the first time incorporates the insights of a new coeditor, John Martin Fischer, and has been updated and revised to make it more accessible. Ideal for introductory philosophy courses, the text includes sections on the meaning of life, God and evil, knowledge and reality, the philosophy of science, the mind/body problem, (...) freedom of will, consciousness, ethics, and philosophical puzzles and paradoxes. It presents seventy substantial--and in some cases complete--selections from the best and most influential works in philosophy, offering a unique balance between classical and contemporary material. An extensive glossary of philosophical terms is also included. The fourth edition features fifteen new readings, including work by Albert Camus, Roderick M. Chisholm, Daniel Dennett, Harry G. Frankfurt, William Paley, Derek Parfit, John Perry, Richard Taylor, Peter Van Inwagen, Bernard Williams, and Susan Wolf. Part III, Knowledge and Reality, has been restructured and now includes Plato's Thaetetus, selections by Edmund L. Gettier and Robert Nozick, and an essay by Christopher Grau that explores the philosophical concepts presented in the popular film The Matrix. Two new ethics puzzles--"The Trolley Problem" and "Ducking Harm and Sacrificing Others"--are also included. This edition incorporates Study Questions after each reading and is accompanied by an Instructor's CD and a Student Companion Website, both containing helpful resources. (shrink)
The first of the new Theory and History series, Matt Perry's punchy andaccessible volume examines Marxism's enormous impact on the way historians approach their subject. Perry offers both a concise introduction to the Marxist view of history and Marxism historical writing, and a guide to its relevance to students' own work.
`What is the proper relation of moral and religious beliefs to politics and law, especially in a society that, like the United States, is morally and religiously pluralistic?' In Morality, Politics, and Law, noted constitutional theorist Michael Perry answers this fundamental question, criticizing the vision of constitutional adjudication and defending a more liberal philosophy of constitutional interpretation.
The following is a joint report of the Committee on Philosophy in Education of the American Philosophical Association and of the Committee on Cooperation with the American Philosophical Association of the Philosophy of Education Society. The report has been approved by the Executive Committee of the Philosophy of Education Society and by the Board of Officers of the American Philosophical Association (September, 1959). The Committee of the American Philosophical Association was composed of the following: C. W. Hendel, Chairman, H. G. (...) Alexander, R. M. Chisholm, Max Fisch, Lucius Garvin, Douglas Morgan, A. E. Murphy, Charner Perry and R. G. Turnbull. The Committee of the Philosophy of Education Society consisted of Fr. R. J. Henle, S.J., Chairman, and Professors Barton, Clayton, Drake, and Hullfish. The American Philosophical Association subcommittee with primary responsibility for this report was composed of Charner Perry, Chairman, and Douglas Morgan. (shrink)
From a speech given at a conference sponsored by the Electronic Funds Transfer Association (EFTA) on "The Puzzle of Data Security and Consumer Privacy," Washington, DC, 16 November 1992. At that time, Dr. Perry was a Consultant in Advisory Services for the Ethics Resource Center.
In this essay I distinguish three kinds of self-knowledge. I call these three kinds agent-relative knowledge, self-attached knowledge and knowledge of the person one happens to be. These aspects of self-knowledge diﬀer in how the knower or agent is represented. Most of what I say will be applicable to beliefs as well as knowledge, and to other kinds of attitudes and thoughts, such as desire, as well.1 Agent-relative knowledge is knowledge from the perspective of a particular agent. To have this (...) sort of knowledge, the agent need not have an idea of self, or a notion of himself or herself. This sort of knowledge can be expressed by a simple sentence containing a demonstrative for a place or object, and without any term referring to the speaker. For example, “There is an apple” or “that is a toaster”. (Ideas of speciﬁc objects I call notions. Ideas of properties and relations I just call ideas. A judgement involves an idea being associated with a notion. A.. (shrink)
The main topic of Jerry Fodor’s The Elm and the Expert,1, and the title of the ﬁrst chapter, is “If Psychological processes are computational, how can psychological laws be intentional?” I focus on the ﬁrst and second chapters; The ﬁrst is devoted to setting up the question, the second to answering it.
In this essay I first review Kaplan’s theory of linguistic character, and then explain and motivate a concept of doxastic character. I then develop some concepts for dealing with the topic of belief retention and then, finally, discuss Rip Van Winkle. I come down on Kaplan’s side with respect to the Frege-inspired strategy, narrowly construed. But I advocate something like the Frege-inspired strategy, if it is construed more broadly. On my view it is remarkably easy to retain a belief, and (...) I think Evans is quite wrong about Rip and Kaplan. The central concept I develop, however, that of an information game, is in the spirit of much of Evans’ work. I also borrow some of his terminology. (shrink)
The self-notion is an essential constituent of any self-belief or self-knowledge. But what is the self-notion? In this paper, I tie together several themes from the philosophy of John Perry to explain how he answers this question. The self-notion is not just any notion that happens to be about the person in whose mind that notion appears, because it's possible to have ways of thinking about oneself that one doesn't realize are about oneself. Characterizing the self-notion properly (and hence (...) self-belief and self-knowledge) requires understanding the role of that notion in tracking agent-relative information and motivating normally self-effecting ways of acting. [Note: the file here is an uncorrected proof. Please see the final book, now called _Identity, Language, and Mind_, for citation purposes.]. (shrink)
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)
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)
David Lewis claims that his theory of modality successfully reduces modal items to nonmodal items. This essay will clarify this claim and argue that it is true. This is largely an exercise within ‘Ludovician Polycosmology’: I hope to show that a certain intuitive resistance to the reduction and a set of related objections misunderstand the nature of the Ludovician project. But these results are of broad interest since they show that would-be reductionists have more formidable argumentative resources than is (...) often thought. Lewis’s reduction depends on a set of methodological commitments each of which is fairly plausible or at least currently popular, and none of which is particular to modality. The choice of which of these commitments to reject I leave to the discerning antireductionist. The essay proceeds as follows: §1 discusses reduction generally and one or two relevant puzzles; §2 discusses Lewis’s reduction in particular; the longest section, §3 replies to four objections. (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)
This paper examines a promising probabilistic theory of singular causation developed by David Lewis. I argue that Lewis' theory must be made more sophisticated to deal with certain counterexamples involving pre-emption. These counterexamples appear to show that in the usual case singular causation requires an unbroken causal process to link cause with effect. I propose a new probabilistic account of singular causation, within the framework developed by Lewis, which captures this intuition.
Helen Beebee has recently argued that David Lewis’s account of compatibilism, so-called local miracle compatibilism (LMC), allows for the possibility that agents in deterministic worlds have the ability to break or cause the breaking of a law of nature. Because Lewis’s LMC allows for this consequence, Beebee claims that LMC is untenable and subsequently that Lewis’s criticism of van Inwagen’s Consequence Argument for incompatibilism is substantially weakened. I review Beebee’s argument against Lewis’s thesis and argue (...) that Beebee has not refuted LMC and concomitantly has not demonstrated that Lewis’s criticism of the Consequence Argument fails. (shrink)
In his metaphysical summa of 1986, The Plurality of Worlds, David Lewis famously defends a doctrine he calls ‘modal realism’, the idea that to account for the fact that some things are possible and some things are necessary we must postulate an infinity possible worlds, concrete entities like our own universe, but cut off from us in space and time. Possible worlds are required to account for the facts of modality without assuming that modality is primitive – that there (...) are irreducibly modal facts. We argue that on one reading, Lewis’s theory licenses us to assume maverick possible worlds which spread through logical space gobbling up all the rest. Because they exclude alternatives, these worlds result in contradictions, since different spread worlds are incompatible with one another. Plainly Lewis’s theory must be amended to exclude these excluders. But, we maintain, this cannot be done without bringing in modal primitives. And once we admit modal primitives, bang goes the rationale for Lewis’s modal realism. (shrink)
My aim is to rekindle interest in David Lewis's (1983) infamous but neglected Mixed Theory of mental states. The Mixed Theory is a mix of physicalism and functionalism designed to capture the intuitions that both Martians and abnormal human Madmen can be in pain. The Mixed Theory is widely derided. But I offer a new development of the Mixed Theory immune to its most prominent objections. In doing so, I uncover a new motivation for the Mixed Theory: its unique (...) ability to explain cases in which it is plausibly indeterminate whether something is in pain. The Mixed Theory, whether or not it is ultimately correct, at least deserves renewed attention. (shrink)
This paper examines a special kind of social preference, namely a preference to do one's part in a mixed-motive setting because the other party expects one to do so. I understand this expectation-based preference as a basic reactive attitude (Strawson 1974). Given this, and the fact that expectations in these circumstances are likely to be based on other people's preferences, I argue that in cooperation a special kind of equilibrium ensues, which I call a loop, with people's preferences and expectations (...) mutually cross-referring. As with a Lewis-norm, the loop can get started in a variety of ways. It is self-sustaining in the sense that people with social preferences have sufficient reason not to deviate. (shrink)
Western civilization has experienced the birth of many philosophical movements. Most of these have had their origin in a particular geographical area. One usually refers to the "Continental Rationalists." the "British Empiricists." and the "American Pragmatists." Just as "Rationalism" is said to have been created in Great Britain, it is usually said that "Pragmatism" was born in America. One speaks of pragmatism as "characteristically American." The date of birth of pragmatism in America has been pin-pointed. Its genesis came about during (...) the early part of "The Classical Period in American Philosophy," a period extending from about 1870 to 1910. Both Perry and Wiener 2 have stated that in the United States the movement arose during the 1870's due in part to conversations held by James, Peirce, Wright, Holmes, Fiske, and others at the meetings in Cambridge of an organization called "The Metaphysical Club." At these gatherings the main scientific and philosophical ideas of the day were discussed, and these men produced "American Pragmatism," in part from these discussions, and in part from independent work. Although the birth of pragmatism in America has been quite thoroughly examined, the genesis of pragmatism in Europe has been only sparsely written about. There were many writers in Europe who were associated with the pragmatic movement. In Italy there were... (shrink)
By the early 1970s, and continuing through 2001, David Lewis and Saul Kripke had taken over W.V.O. Quine’s leadership in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of language, and philosophical logic in the English-speaking world. Quine, in turn, had inherited his position in the early 1950s from Rudolf Carnap, who had been the leading logical positivist -- first in Europe, and, after 1935, in America. A renegade positivist himself, Quine eschewed apriority, necessity, and analyticity, while (for a time) adopting a holistic version (...) of verificationism. Like Carnap, he placed philosophical logic and the philosophy of science at the center of philosophy. (shrink)
There are two parts to Lewis's account of the de se. First there is the idea that the objects of de se thought (and, by extension of de dicto thought too) are properties, not propositions. This is the idea that is center-stage in Lewis's discussion. Second there is the idea that the relation that thinkers bear to these properties is that of self-ascription. It is crucial to LewisÕs account that this is understood as a fundamental, unanalyzable, notion: self-ascription (...) of a property is not ascription of a property to the self, on a par with ascription to someone else. This has been overlooked in much recent discussion, especially when Lewis's account is understood in terms of centered worlds. When it is back in focus it brings problems. An almost Cartesian starting point is required; and first-person plural ascriptions, and those with first person pronouns other than in subject position, become unmanageably complex. (shrink)