Perspectives on the Philosophy of David K. Lewis

Edited by Helen Beebee and A.R.J. Fisher

Perspectives on the Philosophy of David K. Lewis. Oxford University Press, 2022


David Lewis (1941-2001) was unquestionably one of the most important analytic philosophers of the 20th century, writing papers and books – largely but not exclusively in metaphysics – that set the intellectual agenda across a huge variety of topics in the last 30 years or so of the 20th century, and still do so. The main aim of the project as a whole was to be the first systematic and sustained scholarly treatment of Lewis as an important historical figure, with its main outputs (above) constituting essential points of reference for future historians of 20th century analytic philosophy. The aim of this edited collection is to supplement these core outputs by broadening both the range of topics and issues that are given a scholarly treatment within the project, and the range of authors contributing to that endeavour. Accordingly, the collection covers several topics that were not especially central to Lewis’s concerns but to which he still made important contributions, including ethics (Nolan) and time travel (Bernstein), as well as some more central topics (e.g. modality and causation) and some more ‘big picture’ chapters (Jackson, Fisher, Chalmers). The authors draw to some extent on material that will be published in David Lewis: Philosophical Manuscripts (Oxford University Press, forthcoming) and/or the Philosophical Letters of David K. Lewis (Oxford University Press, 2020)The collection will thus serve to advertise the existence, contents, and scholarly uses that can be made of those two works.


1. Introduction: Helen Beebee and A.R.J. Fisher

2. Modal angst or: How I stopped worrying and learned to love modal realism: John Heil

3. The problem of metaphysical omniscience: Wolfgang Schwarz

4. Plenitude and recombination: Alastair Wilson

5. Why Lewis would have rejected grounding: Fraser MacBride and Frederique Janssen-Lauret

6. Carnap’s second Aufbau and David Lewis’s Aufbau: David J. Chalmers

7. Lewis: metaphysics first: Frank Jackson

8. Naturalness, arbitrariness, and serious ontology: A.R.J. Fisher

9. Two kinds of Platonism and categorial semantics: John Bigelow and Martin Leckey

10. David Lewis and his place in the history of formal semantics: Angelika Kratzer

11. The genesis of Lewis’s counterfactual analysis of causation: Helen Beebee

12. What would Lewis do? Daniel Nolan

13. Paradoxes of time travel to the future: Sara Bernstein

14. Lewis on time travel: Jonathan Bennett