Why Lewis's analysis of modality succeeds in its reductive ambitions

Philosophers' Imprint 12 (2012)
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Abstract

Some argue that Lewisian realism fails as a reduction of modality because in order to meet some criterion of success the account needs to invoke primitive modality. I defend Lewisian realism against this charge; in the process, I hope to shed some light on the conditions of success for a reduction. In §1 I detail the resources the Lewisian modal realist needs. In §2 I argue against Lycan and Shalkowski’s charge that Lewis needs a modal notion of ‘world’ to ensure that worlds correspond to possibilities. In §3 I respond to Divers and Melia’s objection that Lewis needs to invoke primitive modality to give a complete account of what worlds there are. In §4 I ask what it is for a notion to ‘involve’ modality. I conclude that the question is either in bad standing or at best offers little traction on the debate, and propose a different way of assessing when materials are appropriately included in a reductive base

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Ross Cameron
University of Virginia

Citations of this work

Modality is Not Explainable by Essence.Carlos Romero - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274):121-141.
Mereology and ideology.Andrew Brenner - 2020 - Synthese 198 (8):7431-7448.
Plenitude and Recombination.Alastair Wilson - forthcoming - In Helen Beebee & Anthony Fisher (eds.), Perspectives on the Philosophy of David K. Lewis. Oxford University Press.
High‐Fidelity Metaphysics: Ideological Parsimony in Theory Choice.Peter Finocchiaro - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 102 (4):613-632.

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