One area of philosophy that Lewis had an impact on was epistemology. But, unlike other areas he influenced, his writings on epistemology derive from just one article, namely, his widely read 1996 ‘Elusive Knowledge’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy vol. 74. It is in this article that he systematically presents his contextualism and his approach to the problem of scepticism.
For the first three months of 2019 the Letter of the Month series will focus on Lewis’s epistemology.
In January’s letter of the month, Lewis outlines for the first time his general views about knowledge. The occasion for writing this letter to Stephen Hetherington is the announcement of Hetherington’s lecture at UNSW titled ‘Lacking Knowledge and Justification by Theorising About Them’ (August 1992). Lewis says that that title would also fit his view about knowledge. As he notes in a parenthetical remark, his theory of knowledge dates back to some suggestions in his 1979 ‘Scorekeeping in a Language Game’, Journal of Philosophical Logic vol. 8. Lewis then outlines his theory of knowledge, the details of which are well-known. One interesting thing about this letter is that Lewis is clear on where the analysis of knowledge fits in with ‘the rest of epistemology’.