In recent years a number of writers have defended and attacked various features of structural, or neo-realist theories of international politics. Few, however, have quarrelled with one of the most foundational features of neorealist theory: its assumptions about the nature of science and scientific theories. In this essay I assess the views of science underlying much neorealist theory, especially as they are articulated in the work of Kenneth Waltz. I argue not only that neorealist theories rest on assumptions about science (...) and theory that have been questioned by postpositivist philosophers and historians of science, but also that the failure to consider the work of these writers yields theories of international politics that are deficient in several respects: they are weak theories in the sense that they cannot illuminate crucial features of international politics, they presuppose and sustain a narrow view of power and power relations, they reify practices and relations in the international arena and they offer little promise of producing the sort of Copernican Revolution for which Waltz called (or, more modestly, even a minimally satisfactory theory of international politics). In light of these shortcomings, I sketch an alternative approach to the study of international affairs, one that has been termed prototype studies. I contend that such an approach provides scholars with a rigorous way of studying international politics, without being a theoretical science. (shrink)
In those twenty or so pages of section xi of Part Two of the Philosophical Investigations in which Wittgenstein discusses the concept of noticing an aspect and its place among the concepts of experience, there are three passages which are explicitly concerned with the relations between seeing and interpreting in the experience of noticing an aspect.
‘I understand that the world was nothing, a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears. I understand that, finally and absolutely, I alone exist. All the rest, I saw, is merely what pushes me, or what I push against, blindly—as blindly as all that is not myself pushes back. I create the whole universe, blink by blink. —An ugly god pitifully dying in a tree.’.
Formulated by Aquinas, commented on by post-Copernican philosophers and theologians, analysed in depth by C.S. Lewis, and deliberated by some contemporary writers, the question of multiple incarnations either within humanity or amongst extra-terrestrial sentient species is all too intermittently examined: ‘Can the Christ be incarnated more than once in our reality, or somewhere else in the universe, or another reality?’ In this paper, we examine the debate and the conclusions: that is, Lewis’s position within his philosophical theology and (...) his analogical narratives; also, some contemporary philosophers of religion and theologians (Karl Rahner, with Christopher L. Fisher and David Fergusson; Sjoerd L. Bonting and William B. Drees; E.L. Mascall and Brian Hebblethwaite; Oliver Crisp and Keith Ward). How do they relate to Aquinas’s handling of the question and how do they compare with Lewis’s approach based on a theology of the imagination (grounded in Augustine and Alice Meynell)? Can Lewis resolve the argument? Could alien species have witnessed wholly different acts, equally unique, costly to God, and necessary to the process of salvation? Any answer or explanation relates to the function and purpose of the incarnation: the Fall, original sin—therefore, how we define the boundaries, limits, of atonement. (shrink)
Recently, new life has been breathed into the ancient philosophical topic of skepticism. The subject of some of the best and most provocative work in contemporary philosophy, skepticism has been addressed not only by top epistemologists but also by several of the world's finest philosophers who are most known for their work in other areas of the discipline. Skepticism: A Contemporary Reader brings together the most important recent contributions to the discussion of skepticism. Covering major approaches to the skeptical problem, (...) it features essays by Anthony Brueckner, Keith DeRose, Fred Dretske, Graeme Forbes, Christopher Hill, David Lewis, Thomas Nagel, Robert Nozick, Hilary Putnam, Ernest Sosa, Gail Stine, Barry Stroud, Peter Unger, and Ted Warfield. The book opens with a thorough introduction that outlines the skeptical problem, explains the dominant responses to skepticism, and discusses the strengths, weaknesses, and unresolved issues of each response, providing undergraduate students and nonphilosophers with the background and context necessary to understand the essays. Skepticism: A Contemporary Reader serves as an ideal text for courses in epistemology and skepticism and will also appeal to professional philosophers and interested general readers. (shrink)
An odd dissensus between confident metaphysicians and neopragmatist antimetaphysicians pervades early twenty-first century analytic philosophy. Each faction is convinced their side has won the day, but both are mistaken about the philosophical legacy of the twentieth century. More historical awareness is needed to overcome the current dissensus. Lewis and his possible-world system are lionised by metaphysicians; Quine’s pragmatist scruples about heavy-duty metaphysics inspire antimetaphysicians. But Lewis developed his system under the influence of his teacher Quine, inheriting from him (...) his empiricism, his physicalism, his metaontology, and, I will show in this paper, also his Humeanism. Using published as well as never-before-seen unpublished sources, I will make apparent that both heavy-duty metaphysicians and neopragmatist antimetaphysicians are wrong about the roles Quine and Lewis played in the development of twentieth-century philosophy. The two are much more alike than is commonly supposed, and Quine much more instrumental to the pedigree of current metaphysics. (shrink)
Many contemporary philosophers accept Hume's Dictum, 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 ---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 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 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)
This paper provides an overview on David Lewis's writings about persistence. I focus on two issues. First, what is the relationship between the doctrine of Humean Supervenience and the rejection of endurantism? Second, why did Lewis not adopt a stage theory of persistence, given that he advocated a counterpart theory of modality?
David Lewis defends the following "non-circular definition of personhood": "something is a continuant person if and only if it is a maximal R-interrelated aggregate of person-stages. That is: if and only if it is an aggregate of person-stages, each of which is R-related to all the rest (and to itself), and it is a proper part of no other such aggregate." I give a counterexample, involving a person who is a part of another, much larger person, with a separate (...) mental life. I then offer an easy repair, which preserves the virtues of Lewis's definition without introducing any new vices. (shrink)
In this paper, we review Keith Lehrer’s account of the basing relation, with particular attention to the two cases he offered in support of his theory, Raco (Lehrer, Theory of knowledge, 1990; Theory of knowledge, (2nd ed.), 2000) and the earlier case of the superstitious lawyer (Lehrer, The Journal of Philosophy, 68, 311–313, 1971). We show that Lehrer’s examples succeed in making his case that beliefs need not be based on the evidence, in order to be justified. These cases (...) show that it is the justification (rather than the belief) that must be based in the evidence. We compare Lehrer’s account of basing with some alternative accounts that have been offered, and show why Lehrer’s own account is more plausible. (shrink)
El artículo propone una interpretación de la obra literaria "Las Crónicas de Narnia" del autor ingles C. S Lewis. Tal interpretación posibilita considerar la alegoría religiosa que esta obra literaria realiza sobre la experiencia de la divinidad a través de la figura del León.
This paper concerns connection between knowing or accepting a logical principle such as Modus Ponens and actions of reasoning involving it. Discussions of this connection typically mention the so-called ‘Lewis Carroll Regress’ and there is near consensus that the regress shows something important about it. Also, although the regress explicitly concerns logic, many philosophers think that it establishes a more general truth, about the structurally similar connection between epistemic or practical principles and actions involving them. This paper’s first aim (...) is to address key interpretations Carroll’s regress as clearly as possible so as to show precisely how it might be relevant to questions concerning the connection between logical knowledge and reasoning, and, more broadly, to discussions of how epistemic or practical principles may be action-guiding. Its second aim is to show that the regress fails to establish anything of substance about the connection between logical knowledge and reasoning, or any other structurally similar relation, unless substantive, contentious and typically undefended assumptions are made. The consensus is thus on shaky ground. (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)
The recent popularity of contextualist treatments of the key epistemic concepts has tended to obscure the differences that exist between the various kinds of contextualist theses on offer. The aim of this paper is to contribute towards rectifying this problem by exploring two of the main formulations of the contextualist position currently on offer in the literature—the 'semantic' contextualist thesis put forward by Keith DeRose and David Lewis, and the 'inferential' contextualist thesis advanced by Michael Williams. It is (...) argued that by evaluating these theses in the light of each other one can gain a deeper understanding of the contextualist position. In particular, it is argued that this relative evaluation highlights one interesting way in which contextualism might be developed. (shrink)
Perhaps the most dominant anti‐sceptical proposal in recent literature –advanced by such figures as Stewart Cohen, Keith DeRose and David Lewis –is the contextualist response to radical scepticism. Central to the contextualist thesis is the claim that, unlike other non‐contextualist anti‐sceptical theories, contextualism offers a dissolution of the sceptical paradox that respects our common sense epistemological intuitions. Taking DeRose's view as representative of the contextualist position, it is argued that instead of offering us an intuitive response to scepticism, (...) contextualism is actually committed to a revisionist stance as regards our everyday usage of epistemic terms. In particular, it is argued that the thesis fails to present a satisfactory explication of a notion –that of‘epistemic descent’– that is pivotal to the anti‐sceptical import of the account. On the positive side, however, it is claimed that although the contextualist response to scepticism is ultimately unsatisfying, DeRose's theory does contain within it the framework for a completely different ‐ and far more persuasive ‐ account of the‘phenomenology’of scepticism which runs along non‐contextualist lines. (shrink)
The early David Lewis was a staunch critic of the Truthmaker Principle. To endorse the principle, he argued, is to accept that states of affairs are truthmakers for contingent predications. But states of affairs violate Hume's prohibition of necessary connections between distinct existences. So Lewis offered to replace the Truthmaker Principle with the weaker principle that ‘truth supervenes upon being’. This chapter argues that even this principle violates Hume's prohibition. Later Lewis came to ‘withdraw’ his doubts about (...) the Truthmaker Principle, invoking counterpart theory to show how it is possible to respect the principle whilst admitting only things that do not violate Hume's prohibition. What this really reveals is that the Truthmaker Principle is no explanatory advance on the supervenience principle. Extending Lewis's use of counterpart theory also allows us to explain away the necessary connections that threatened to undermine his earlier statements of supervenience. (shrink)
David Lewis, Stewart Cohen, and Keith DeRose have proposed that sentences of the form S knows P are indexical, and therefore differ in truth value from one context to another.1 On their indexical contextualism, the truth value of S knows P is determined by whether S meets the epistemic standards of the speakers context. I will not be concerned with relational forms of contextualism, according to which the truth value of S knows P is determined by the standards (...) of the subject Ss context, regardless of the standards applying to the speaker making the knowledge claim. Relational contextualism is a form of normative relativism. Indexical contextualism is a semantic theory. When the subject is the speaker, as when S is the first person pronoun I, the two forms of contextualism coincide. But otherwise, they diverge. I critically examine the principal arguments for indexicalism, detail linguistic evidence against it, and suggest a pragmatic alternative. (shrink)
David Lewis’s arguments against magical ersatzism are notoriously puzzling. Untangling different strands in those arguments is useful for bringing out what he thought was wrong with not just one style of theory about possible worlds, but with much of the contemporary metaphysics of abstract objects. After setting out what I take Lewis’s arguments to be and how best to resist them, I consider the application of those arguments to general theories of properties and relations. The constraints Lewis (...) motivates turn out to yield an argument for concretism about possible individuals that is quite different from the better-known Lewisian arguments for that position. The discussion also touches on the puzzling question of whether things are the way they are because of the properties they have, or are the properties and relations the way they are because of the things that have them. (shrink)
I have two aims in this paper. In §§2-4 I contend that Moore has two arguments (not one) for the view that that ‘good’ denotes a non-natural property not to be identified with the naturalistic properties of science and common sense (or, for that matter, the more exotic properties posited by metaphysicians and theologians). The first argument, the Barren Tautology Argument (or the BTA), is derived, via Sidgwick, from a long tradition of anti-naturalist polemic. But the second argument, the Open (...) Question Argument proper (or the OQA), seems to have been Moore’s own invention and was probably devised to deal with naturalistic theories, such as Russell’s, which are immune to the Barren Tautology Argument. The OQA is valid and not (as Frankena (1939) has alleged) question-begging. Moreover, if its premises were true, it would have disposed of the desire-to-desire theory. But as I explain in §5, from 1970 onwards, two key premises of the OQA were successively called into question, the one because philosophers came to believe in synthetic identities between properties and the other because it led to the Paradox of Analysis. By 1989 a philosopher like Lewis could put forward precisely the kind of theory that Moore professed to have refuted with a clean intellectual conscience. However, in §§6-8 I shall argue that all is not lost for the OQA. I first press an objection to the desire-to-desire theory derived from Kripke’s famous epistemic argument. On reflection this argument looks uncannily like the OQA. But the premise on which it relies is weaker than the one that betrayed Moore by leading to the Paradox of Analysis. This suggests three conclusions: 1) that the desire-to-desire theory is false; 2) that the OQA can be revived, albeit in a modified form; and 3) that the revived OQA poses a serious threat to what might be called semantic naturalism. (shrink)
Data-driven historiography of philosophy looks to objective modeling tools for illumination of the propagation of influence. While the system of David Lewis, the most influential philosopher of our time, raises historiographic puzzles to stymie conventional analytic methods, it proves amenable to data-driven analysis. A striking result is that Lewis only becomes the metaphysician of current legend following the midpoint of his career: his initial project is to frame a descriptive science of mind and meaning; the transition to metaphysics (...) is a rhetorically breathtaking escape from this program's (inevitable) collapse. Understanding this process both aids a more focused debate whether it counts as progress, and also presents novel affordances for partisans on both sides to learn from Lewis's right and wrong steps. (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.