Ramseyan Humility, scepticism and grasp

Philosophical Studies 164 (3):705-726 (2013)
Abstract
In ‘Ramseyan Humility’ David Lewis argues that a particular view about fundamental properties, quidditism, leads to the position that we are irredeemably ignorant of the identities of fundamental properties. We are ignorant of the identities of fundamental properties since we can never know which properties play which causal roles, and we have no other way of identifying fundamental properties other than by the causal roles they play. It has been suggested in the philosophical literature that Lewis’ argument for Humility is merely an instance of traditional scepticism, to which traditional responses to scepticism are applicable. I agree that in ‘Ramseyan Humility’ Lewis does present an argument to which it is appropriate to consider the applicability of responses to traditional scepticism—he argues that we irredeemably lack the evidence to rule out possibilities in which different properties occupy the causal roles described by our best physical theory. And prima facie this is just the kind of argument responses to traditional scepticism are designed to tackle. However, I will argue that Lewis bolsters this argument with a second. This second argument serves to deepen Lewis’ case and cannot be met with a response to traditional scepticism. For Lewis argues that not only do we lack evidence for which properties play which roles, we lack the ability to grasp any such proposition about role-occupancy. And if we cannot grasp any such proposition we cannot know it
Keywords David Lewis  Quidditism  Ramseyan Humility  Scepticism  Humility  Grasp
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9871-1
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 27,204
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Elusive Knowledge.David Lewis - 1996 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (4):549 – 567.
Metaphysical Essays.John Hawthorne - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
Ramseyan Humility.David Lewis - 2009 - In David Braddon-Mitchell & Robert Nola (eds.), Conceptual Analysis and Philosophical Naturalism. MIT Press. pp. 203-222.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Three Arguments for Humility.David Yates - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-21.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Elusive Knowledge of Things in Themselves.Frank Jackson, Graham Priest & Rae Langton - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (1):129 – 136.
Quidditism Without Quiddities.Dustin Locke - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (3):345-363.
In Defence of Kantian Humility.Tom McClelland - 2012 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (1):62-70.
Ramseyan Humility.David Lewis - 2009 - In David Braddon-Mitchell & Robert Nola (eds.), Conceptual Analysis and Philosophical Naturalism. MIT Press. pp. 203-222.
Scepticism, Relativism and the Argument From the Criterion.Howard Sankey - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (1):182-190.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2012-03-23

Total downloads

65 ( #80,186 of 2,164,272 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #84,020 of 2,164,272 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums