On the Plurality of Worlds

On the Plurality of Worlds

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Description

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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 286 pages
  • 170.18 x 248.92 x 22.86mm | 589.67g
  • BLACKWELL PUBLISHERS
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 2nd Revised ed.
  • 0631224262
  • 9780631224266
  • 132,422

Back cover copy

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

After putting forward the type of modal realism he favors, Lewisanswers numerous objections that have been raised against it. Theseinclude an insistence that everything must be actual; paradoxesakin to those that confront naive set theory; arguments that modalrealism leads to inductive skepticism, or to disregard for prudenceand morality; and finally, sheer incredulity at a theory thatdisagrees so badly with common opinion. Lewis grants the weight ofthe last objection, but takes it to be outweighed by the benefitsto systematic theory that acceptance of modal realism brings. Heasks whether these same benefits might be gained more cheaply if wereplace his many worlds by many merely 'abstract' representations;but concludes that all versions of this 'ersatz modal realism' arein serious trouble. In the final chapter, Lewis distinguishesvarious questions about trans-world identity, and argues that his'method of counterparts' is preferable to alternativeapproaches.
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Table of contents

Preface.
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.


Isolation.


Concreteness.


Plenitude.


Actuality.


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.


Index.
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About David Lewis

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.
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350 ratings
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1 1% (5)
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