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On the Plurality of Worlds

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  234 ratings  ·  17 reviews
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.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 8th 2001 by Wiley-Blackwell (first published 1986)
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against all odds, i am extremely fond of this book. modal realism doesn't really do any of the work that i care most about doing, or resolve any of the questions that i care most about resolving, but i'll give this to david lewis, he seems to have done a great job of resolving the questions that HE cares most about, and with a combination of systematicity and whimsy unsurpassed in contemporary philosophy.

if your intuitions about modality, like mine, are deflationary, david lewis isn't going to
In years to come, David Lewis will probably be remembered as one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century (standing beside Frege, Russell, and Quine). It would be difficult, at any rate, to overestimate the influence of Lewis' work throughout contemporary analytic philosophy: in metaphysics, logic, and the philosophy of language. And not because he has engendered widespread agreement: in fact, I think there are very few who are willing to embrace Lewis' conclusions (in Lewis' own w ...more
David Lewis was crazy. Crazy like a fox, maybe, but crazy. Completely brilliant, though. He gets 9.5/10 Berkeleys on the "This argument has an insane conclusion but I can't find the flaw in the reasoning" scale.
If you're at all interested in analytic philosophy, it's surely worth being acquainted with David Lewis, and this is probably the essential Lewis book. His defence of modal realism is beautifully written, with clear, lucid arguments, and it covers a wide range of philosophical problems in an accessible manner. Possible worlds are objects of modal logic, but there's no difficult formal logic here; anyone with an interest in the book and a good background in philosophy should be able to follow the ...more
Phill Melton
Insightful, brilliantly argued, and a salient warning on the dangers of following common sense principles to their logical conclusions. On Tuesdays, I agree with Lewis; every other day, I'm with everyone else in thinking him batshit insane. Lewis is a perfect model of modern philosophical writing, managing to be clear even in the most complicated of passages—which, seeing as this is a work of analytic metaphysics, are frequent. Modal realism may be crazy, but, as this book makes clear, there are ...more
Great book. In it, Lewis argues convincingly and defends modal realism. But no sane person can accept the ontology: infinitely many non-actual concrete possible worlds and individuals! The Lewisian account of modality is too costly to buy wholesale. Look to Kit Fine, not Plantinga, for a more grounded alternative: modal actualism. Nevertheless, this book is required reading for anyone interested in analytic philosophy.
A classic in analytic metaphysics. Remarkably simple and clever arguments for such a shocking thesis. The greatest part? The typical criticism of modal realism (that it inflates our ontology above a reasonable level) is one point Lewis employs against the ersatzist. The book challenges us to analyze not only our metaphysical positions, but our methodologies as well.
Erik Cameron
This book is great! This and Kripke's Naming and Necessity are two perfect introductions to analytic philosophy. Lewis can seem completely unhinged at first glance, until you get worked into his frame of mind. It's an excellent read for anyone curious about possibility and necessity.
It's beautiful and rigourous and possibly (quite) wrong. Kripke attacked it because he was unable to grasp its deeper meaning(s) and implication(s)...
Thought provoking, but often confusing and poorly argued. I'm not convinced by Lewis that something like linguistic ersatzism is a bad account of modality.
Not for the beginner! But other than that setback, it's proof that he was the finest philosopher of the latter half of the twentieth century.
M.k. Yost
Mind-blowing and not an easy read, but definitely worth it if you want to consider the possibilities/practicalities of other worlds.
lewis is indispensable for contemporary philosophers.
Oh, he's probably wrong, but this is insanely good shit.
David Lewis FTW
David Lews is an excellent metaphysician-logician, and not only that, but he holds the paradigm skill of an analytic philosopher. And, for that reason, I think the thesis in his book is largely engineered: his modal realism is like Berkeley's phenomenal idealism (in that they are both not correct, but hard to pin-point the fallacy)- it is definitely not correct, but since the authors of the theses are so clever, it is difficult to detect the fallacy in there arguments...
Classic, of course.
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Philosophy: Lewis' Modal Realism 1 4 Apr 26, 2014 03:33PM  
  • Word and Object
  • Naming and Necessity
  • The Nature of Necessity
  • The Foundations of Arithmetic: A Logico-Mathematical Enquiry into the Concept of Number
  • Reasons and Persons
  • Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy
  • Reason, Truth and History
  • The View from Nowhere
  • Introduction to Logic: and to the Methodology of Deductive Sciences
  • Inquiries Into Truth and Interpretation
  • Language, Truth, and Logic
  • Sense and Sensibilia: Reconstructed from the Manuscript Notes by C.J. Warnock
  • The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy of Language: A Contemporary Introduction
  • Principia Ethica (Philosophical Classics)
  • Computability and Logic
  • Fact, Fiction, and Forecast
David Kellogg Lewis was a 20th century philosopher. Lewis taught briefly at UCLA and then at Princeton from 1970 until his death. He is also closely associated with Australia, whose philosophical community he visited almost annually for more than thirty years. He has made ground-breaking contributions in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophical logic ...more
More about David Kellogg Lewis...
Counterfactuals Convention: A Philosophical Study Philosophical Papers, Volume I (Philosophical Papers) Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology, Volume 2 Papers in Philosophical Logic, Volume 1

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