On the Plurality of Worlds / Edition 1

On the Plurality of Worlds / Edition 1

by David Lewis, Andrew Lewis
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On the Plurality of Worlds / Edition 1

This book is a defense of modal realism; the thesis that our world is but one of a plurality of worlds, and that the individuals that inhabit our world are only a few out of all the inhabitants of all the worlds. Lewis argues that the philosophical utility of modal realism is a good reason for believing that it is true.

After putting forward the type of modal realism he favors, Lewis answers numerous objections that have been raised against it. These include an insistence that everything must be actual; paradoxes akin to those that confront naive set theory; arguments that modal realism leads to inductive skepticism, or to disregard for prudence and morality; and finally, sheer incredulity at a theory that disagrees so badly with common opinion. Lewis grants the weight of the last objection, but takes it to be outweighed by the benefits to systematic theory that acceptance of modal realism brings. He asks whether these same benefits might be gained more cheaply if we replace his many worlds by many merely 'abstract' representations; but concludes that all versions of this 'ersatz modal realism' are in serious trouble. In the final chapter, Lewis distinguishes various questions about trans-world identity, and argues that his 'method of counterparts' is preferable to alternative approaches.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780631224969
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 02/16/2001
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 7.10(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.08(d)

About the Author

David Lewis (1941- 2001) was Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University. His publications include Convention (reissued by Blackwell 2002), Counterfactuals (reissued by Blackwell 2000), Parts of Classes (1991), and of numerous articles in metaphysics and other areas. Many of his writings are available in his Collected Papers.

Table of Contents


1. A Philosopher's Paradise.

The Thesis of Pluraliry of Worlds.

Modal Realism at Work: Modality.

Modal Realism at Work: Closeness.

Modal Realism at Work: Content.

Modal Realism at Work: Properties.





2. Paradox in Paradise?.

Everything is Actual?.

All Worlds in One?.

More Worlds Than There Are?.

How Can We Know?.

A Road to Scepticism?.

A Road to Indifference?.

Arbitrariness Lost?.

The Incredulous Stare.

3. Paradise on the Cheap?.

The Ersatzist Program.

Linguistic Ersatzism.

Pictorial Ersatzism.

Magical Ersatzism.

4. Counterparts or Double Lives?.

Good Questions and Bad.

Against Overlap.

Against Trans-World Individuals.

Against Haecceitism.

Against Constancy.

Works Cited.


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