Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology
Lewis (David)
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BOOK ABSTRACT: None.



"Lewis (David) - A Comment on Armstrong and Forrest"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology
COMMENT: More on Structural Universal1s



"Lewis (David) - A World of Truthmakers?"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology



"Lewis (David) - Against Structural Universals"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology
COMMENT: Also in "Laurence (Stephen) & Macdonald (Cynthia), Eds. - Contemporary Readings in the Foundations of Metaphysics"



"Lewis (David) - Armstrong on Combinatorial Possibility"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology



"Lewis (David) - Elusive Knowledge"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology


Philosophers Index Abstract
    The analysis of knowledge is simple: S knows that P if S's evidence eliminates every possibility in which not-P--except for those possibilities that we are properly ignoring. What is complicated, however, is the set of pragmatic rules governing proper ignoring. For one thing, you may not properly ignore a possibility which your conversational partner is right now calling to your attention. So when the sceptic draws your attention to some far-fetched possibility of error, he thereby destroys your knowledge--but only temporarily.


COMMENT: Also in "Sosa (Ernest) & Kim (Jaegwon), Eds. - Epistemology - An Anthology"



"Lewis (David) - Extrinsic Properties"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology



"Lewis (David) - Finkish Dispositions"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology


Philosophers Index Abstract
    C. B. Martin has refuted the simple conditional analysis of dispositions: maybe a certain fragile thing would not break if struck, because maybe it would lose its fragility if struck. Yet there is a reformed conditional analysis; because even such a thing has some intrinsic property such that if it were struck and it nevertheless retained that property, it would thereby be caused to break.



"Lewis (David) - Humean Supervenience Debugged"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology



"Lewis (David) - Individuation By Acquaintance and By Stipulation"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology


Author’s Introduction
  1. What do we see when we see what isn't there? Macbeth the hallucinator sees a dagger. There is no dagger there to be seen: no ordinary steel dagger before his eyes, no miniature dagger on his retina or inside his brain, no ghostly dagger of spook-stuff. There is no reason to think that our world contains any such thing. But the lack of a dagger makes it mysterious how we can describe Macbeth's state, as we do, by means of predicates applying to the dagger he seems to see-it is bloody, it has a wooden handle-and not to the nerve signals, brain states, and other non-daggers that really exist. Notoriously, if we try to describe Macbeth adverbially-he is appeared to daggerishly, bloody-and-wooden-handled-daggerishly, and so on-it becomes plain that we only understand our Macbeth-descriptions by under- standing the dagger-descriptions that are built into them. How so, if there is no dagger there to describe?
  2. The case of the missing dagger has been solved by inspector Hintikka. I accept his solution, differing only on points of detail, and I shall begin this paper by restating it in my own way.
  3. When Macbeth is appeared to daggerishly, his experience has informational content, and part of that content is that there is a dagger before him. His experience tends to modify his belief, and if he is fooled by his hallucination, then also part of the content of his belief is that there is a dagger before him. An ordinary dagger, not a spooky one; and before the eyes, not inside the head.
  4. The dagger Macbeth seems to see has the same status as Sherlock Holmes; or as the planet Vulcan, mistakenly posited to explain the perturbations of Mercury. The dagger, or Holmes, or Vulcan, exists according to something with false informational content, but does not actually exist.
  5. Informational content can be explained in terms of possibilities. The information admits some possibilities and excludes others. Its content is given by the division of possibilities into the admitted ones and the excluded ones. The information is that some one of these possibilities is realized, not any one of those.


COMMENT: Originally, Philosophical Review, Vol. 92, No. 1 (Jan., 1983), pp. 3-32



"Lewis (David) - Many, But Almost One"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology


Philosophers Index Abstract
  1. It is arbitrary where a cloud leaves off. Thanks to boundary vagueness, there are many equally good candidates to be the cloud. Yet we have "one" cloud up there, not many. How so?
  2. The method of supervaluation yields one answer.
  3. Armstrong's observation that extensive overlap approximates to identity yields another: we have a cloud up there to which all clouds up there are approximately identical.
  4. The two answers do not compete; they may usefully be combined.


COMMENT:



"Lewis (David) - Maudlin and Modal Mystery"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology


Philosophers Index Abstract
    An alleged refutation of modal realism by Tim Maudlin relies upon an 'Aristotelian' principle: whatever cannot be refuted is possibly true. If that principle is disambiguated in the way that meets the needs of Maudlin's argument, it will engender contradiction in all manner of theories of modality, realist or not; wherefore it should be rejected.



"Lewis (David) - Naming the Colours"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology


Philosophers Index Abstract
    Colors, and correlatively color experiences, are to be defined as the occupants of folk-theoretical causal roles. But this plan will succeed only if folk theory has the resources to distinguish each color from all others. Each one of us has distinguishing informations: I know, for instance, that the people's flag is deepest red. But maybe no distinguishing information is common knowledge throughout the linguistic community. Perhaps it doesn't have to be: perhaps semantic common knowledge in overlapping subcommunities will suffice.



"Lewis (David) - New Work for a Theory of Universals"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology


Author’s Introduction
  1. D. M. Armstrong offers a theory of universals1 as the only adequate answer to a 'compulsory question' for systematic philosophy: the problem of One over Many2. I find this line of argument unpersuasive. But I think there is more to be said for Armstrong's theory than he himself has said. For as I bear it in mind considering various topics in philosophy, I notice time and again that it offers solutions to my problems. Whatever we may think of the problem of One over Many, universals3 can earn their living doing other much-needed work.
  2. I do not say that they are indispensable. The services they render could be matched using resources that are Nominalistic in letter, if perhaps not in spirit4. But neither do I hold any presumption against universals5, to the effect that they are to be accepted only if we have no alternative. I therefore suspend judgement about universals6 themselves. I only insist that, one way or another, their work must be done.
  3. I shall investigate the benefits of adding universals7 to my own usual ontology. That ontology, though Nominalistic, is in other respects generous. It consists of possibilia — particular, individual things, some of which comprise our actual world and others of which are unactualised8 — together with the iterative hierarchy of classes built up from them. Thus I already have at my disposal a theory of properties as classes of possibilia. Properties, so understood, are not much like universals9. Nor can they, unaided, take over the work of universals10. Nevertheless they will figure importantly in what follows, since for me they are part of the environment in which universals11 might operate.
  4. The friend of universals12 may wonder whether they would be better employed not as an addition to my ontology of possibilia and classes, but rather as a replacement for parts of it. A fair question, and an urgent one; nevertheless, not a question considered in this paper.
  5. In the next section, I shall sketch Armstrong's theory of universals13, contrasting universals14 with properties understood as classes of possibilia.
  6. Then I shall say why I am unconvinced by the One over Many argument.
  7. Then I shall turn to my principal topic: how universals15 could help me in connection with such topics as
    • duplication, supervenience16, and divergent worlds;
    • a minimal form of materialism;
    • laws and causation17; and
    • the content of language and thought.
    Perhaps the list could be extended.


COMMENT:




In-Page Footnotes ("Lewis (David) - New Work for a Theory of Universals")

Footnote 2: Footnote 4: In this paper, I follow Armstrong's traditional terminology:
  • 'Universals' are repeatable entities, wholly present wherever a particular instantiates them;
  • 'Nominalism' is the rejection of such entities.
  • In the conflicting modem terminology of Harvard, classes count as 'universals' and 'Nominalism' is predominantly the rejection of classes.
  • Confusion of the terminologies can result in grave misunderstanding; see "Quine (W.V.) - Soft Impeachment Disowned" (1980).
Footnote 8:
  • Among 'things' I mean to include all the gerrymandered wholes and undemarcated parts admitted by the most permissive sort of mereology.
  • Further, I include such physical objects as spatiotemporal regions and force fields, unless an eliminative reduction of them should prove desirable.
  • Further, I include such nonphysical objects as gods and spooks, though not - I hope - as parts of the same world as us.
  • Worlds themselves need no special treatment. They are things — big ones, for the most part.



"Lewis (David) - Noneism or Allism?"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology


Philosophers Index Abstract
    Some few entities--present, actual, particular, spatio-temporal, material, well-bounded things--exist uncontroversially. Scarcely any philosopher denies them. Other alleged entities are controversial: some say they exist, some say they do not. These controversial entities include past and future things, the dead who have ceased to be and those who are not yet even conceived; unactualized possibilia; universals1, numbers, and classes; and Meinongian objects, incomplete or inconsistent or both. An expansive friend of the entities who says that all these entities exist may be called an "allist". A tough desert-dweller who says that none of them exist may be called a "noneist". In between come most of us, the pickers and choosers, "some-by-only-someists".



"Lewis (David) - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology: Introduction"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology



"Lewis (David) - Percepts and Colour Mosaics in Visual Experience"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology



"Lewis (David) - Psychophysical and Theoretical Identifications"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology

COMMENT:



"Lewis (David) - Putnam's Paradox"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology



"Lewis (David) - Rearrangement of Particles: Reply to Lowe"

Source: Analysis 48, 1988, pp. 65-72


Extracts
  1. Ordinary things, for instance we ourselves, undeniably persist through time. As we persist, we change. And not just in extrinsic ways, as when a child was born elsewhere and I became an uncle. We also change in our own intrinsic character, in the way we ourselves are, apart from our relationships to anything else. When I sit I'm bent, when I stand I'm straight. When I change my shape, that isn't a matter of my changing relationship to other things, or my relationship to other changing things. I do the changing, all by myself. Or so it seems. What happens must be possible. But how? Nothing can have the two incompatible shapes, bent and straight. How does having them at different times help? In "Lewis (David) - On the Plurality of Worlds" (Blackwell, 1986; henceforth PoW), p. 204, I listed three solutions, and said that only the third was tenable.
  2. The first solution is that the 'properties' are really relations to times. That lets us say that things persist by enduring, the one thing is present at different times; and not mere temporal parts of it, different parts at different times, but all of it, wholly present at each of the times. The whole of me stands in the bent-at relation to some times and the straight-at relation to others. I complained that shapes are properties, not relations. No doubt a friend of the first solution will draw a distinction that he will call the distinction between matters of one's own intrinsic character and matters of one's relationships: having a shape will go on one side, being an uncle on the other. But call it what he will, his account reveals that really he treats shape, no less than unclehood, as a matter of relations. In this account, nothing just has a shape simpliciter. The temporary 'intrinsic properties' of things, so understood, do not deserve the name. This solution amounts to a denial that things really do have temporary intrinsics, and therefore is untenable.'
  3. The second solution says that there is only one genuine time, the present. Intrinsic properties are genuine properties, and a thing can have them simpliciter, without regard to any relationships to anything else. However, the only intrinsic properties it has simpliciter are the properties it has now. What passes for persistence and change, on this solution, does not really involve other times. Rather, there are 'abstract' ersatz times, to go with the one 'concrete' genuine time. These represent, or misrepresent, the present. If I am bent now, and straight later, there is an abstract misrepresentation of the present according to which I am straight. 'Persistence' and 'change', so understood, do not deserve their names. This solution amounts to a denial of persistence and change, and therefore is untenable.
  4. The third solution, the tenable one, is that incompatible temporary intrinsic properties do not all belong to the same thing. A persisting thing perdures. It consists of temporal parts, or stages, different ones at different times, which differ in their intrinsic properties. When I sit and then stand, bent stages are followed by straight stages. Each stage has its shape simpliciter. Shape is truly intrinsic.
  5. [… snip …]
  6. In his "Lowe (E.J.) - Lewis on Perdurance Versus Endurance" (Analysis 47.3, June 1987, pp. 152-54), E. J. Lowe agrees that we need a solution, and joins me in rejecting the first and second solutions. But he rejects the third solution as well. He finds it 'scarcely intelligible' to say that things like people or puddles, as opposed to events or processes, have temporal parts. I disagree; but won't repeat here what I have said elsewhere about the intelligibility of temporal parts.- Lowe does find perdurance intelligible enough to be denied, and deny it he does. After rejecting all three solutions, Lowe is urgently in need of a fourth.
  7. [… snip …]
  8. Here is Lowe's fourth solution. Science teaches that things consist of particles. A change of shape for the thing, for instance for me when I sit and then stand, is a rearrangement of its particles. (Likewise for other intrinsic changes, for instance in my temperature or neural activity.) When the particles are rearranged, they undergo a change in their relations to one another; but no change in their intrinsic properties. In fact, it seems likely that fundamental particles never change their intrinsic properties. An electron or a quark has a certain charge, rest mass, and so on; all constant, from the creation of the particle to its destruction, no matter how the particle may move around and change its relations to other particles. There is no problem of intrinsic change for particles, if they have no temporary intrinsics. Particles, at least, may safely be supposed to endure; and larger things consist of these enduring particles, undergoing rearrangement but no intrinsic change.


COMMENT:



"Lewis (David) - Reduction Of Mind"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology



"Lewis (David) - Should a Materialist Believe In Qualia?"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology


Philosophers Index Abstract
    The answer is yes and no. A materialist should believe in imperfect occupants of the role, and imperfect deservers of the name, of qualia: in properties of experiences that are causally responsible for the power of experiences to impart mental abilities to recognize and imagine experiences of the same kind. But he should not believe in perfect occupants of the role and deservers of the name. For part of our folk- psychological concept of qualia is that we can "identify" them: just by having an experience you can know exactly which property is the qualia of the experience you are having. If materialism is true, nothing satisfies this part of our concept of qualia.



"Lewis (David) - What Experience Teaches"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology

COMMENT:



"Lewis (David) - What Puzzling Pierre Does Not Believe"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology



"Lewis (David) - Why Conditionalise?"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology



"Lewis (David) & Langton (Rae) - Defining 'Intrinsic'"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology



"Lewis (David) & Lewis (Stephanie) - Casati and Varzi on Holes"

Source: Lewis - Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology



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