Via Finnegans Wake, I found a link back to a really well written obituary of David Lewis by Jane O’Grady. I remember at the time that the American obituaries about Lewis mentioned modal realism and very little but modal realism. And while of course modal realism gets a run here, it’s a very good systematic account of what’s valuable in Lewis’s philosophy. (As well as mentioning many of the reasons so many people were so fond of Lewis in person.) Anyway, the reason I’m linking to it here is to note the start of the final paragraph.
Lewis restored philosophical respectability to systematic metaphysics. Like Hume, he tried to reconcile a scientific conception of the world with how it actually appears to us.
I’m not entirely sure this is the most perspicuous way to describe Hume, but as a claim about Lewis it seems just right. I bring this up mainly to be self-deprecating. I think focussing on this reconciliation project is the right way to read Lewis, but I don’t think in saying that I’m being particularly groundbreaking. Still, I’m not sure it’s been said in the unpopular press quite so clearly before, so perhaps there’s some value in me continuing to say it.
Posted by Brian Weatherson in Uncategorized