How to be a Pragmatist: C. I. Lewis and Humean Skepticism

Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 42 (1):24-31 (2006)
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Murray G. Murphey’s masterful treatment of C. I. Lewis’s philosophy leaves two things amply clear: first, that Lewis struggled with skeptical arguments from Hume throughout his career; and second, that Lewis never adequately resolved the problems raised by those arguments. In this paper I will consider Lewis’s approach to Hume’s skepticism in Mind and the World Order (MWO) and in An Analysis of Knowledge and Valuation (AKV), and I will argue that Lewis’s reply to Hume in these works did not change as dramatically as Murphey claims. Nevertheless, I agree with Murphey that there are two quite different lines of reply discernable in Lewis, and that neither adequately answers Hume. In the final part of the paper I argue that Lewis’s pragmatism gives us resources for an adequate reply to Hume’s skeptical arguments, although it is not the reply that Lewis himself gives.



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John Greco
Georgetown University

Citations of this work

C. I. Lewis was a Foundationalist After All.Griffin Klemick - 2020 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 37 (1):77-99.
Pragmatism, Experience, and the Given.Scott Aikin - 2009 - Human Affairs 19 (1):19-27.

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Reliability, Justification, and the Problem of Induction.James van Cleve - 1984 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 9 (1):555-567.

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