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It is hard to think of a philosopher since Hume who has contributed so much to so many fields. And he was almost invariably clear about which details were relevant only to his particular big picture, and which were relevant to anyone who worked on the subject.
Lewis was born in Oberlin, Ohio into two academics.
He was an undergraduate at Swarthmore College. During his undergraduate years, his interest in philosophy was stimulated by a year abroad in Oxford, where he heard J.
He returned to Swarthmore as a philosophy major, and never looked back. He studied at Harvard for his Ph. Quine that became his first book, Convention. He remained at Princeton until his death in While at Harvard he met his wife Stephanie.
Lewis visited Australia in, every year from toand again shortly before his death in Lewis published four books: His numerous papers have been largely collected in five volumes: IPhilosophical Papers Vol.
Sections 5 and 6 are on his metaphysics, looking in turn at Humean Supervenience and modal realism. It was based on his Harvard Ph. The book was an extended argument that language could be entirely grounded in convention.
There is a simple argument that this could not be so. Conventions are formed by agreement, agreements are made in language, so language must precede convention, not be grounded in convention.
In the foreward Quine contributes to Convention, Quine appears to express some sympathy for this argument. Rather, on his view, conventions are regularities in action that solve co-ordination problems. We can stumble into such a regularity without ever agreeing to do so.
The simplest cases in which conventions arise are ones where we are repeatedly playing a game that is purely co-operative, i. In such a case, we may well hope for the equilibrium to persist.
At the very least, we will prefer the persistence of the equilibrium to any one person deviating from it.
And we will have this preference even if we would prefer, all things considered, to be in some other equilibrium state. This is a regularity in action—it involves making moves in the repeated game. But if other agents acted differently, agents would not be interested in following the regularity, since there are alternative equilibria.
Because these three conditions are met, Lewis argued that the practice is really a convention, even if there was never any explicit agreement to continue it.
The case we started with was restricted in two important ways. First, the case involved games that were perfectly repeated. Second, it involved games where the payoffs were perfectly symmetric.
Instead of focussing on repeated co-ordination problems, Lewis just focussed on repeated situations which collectively constitute a co-ordination problem. Lewis does not identify situations with games.
For example, it may be that the costs of performing some kind of action differ on different occasions, so the formal game will be different, but the differences are small enough that it makes sense to have a common practice.
And Lewis does not require that there be identity of interests. In Convention he does require that there be large overlap of interests, but this requirement does not do much work, and is abandoned in later writing.
With those requirements weakened, we get the following definition of convention. But Lewis, characteristically, thought this was a feature not a bug of the view. Our intuitive notion of a convention is vague, and any analysis of it should capture the vagueness.
Lewis does not require that everyone know that everyone know etc. Rather, when Lewis says that it is common knowledge that p, he means that everyone has a reason to believe that p, and everyone has a reason to believe everyone has a reason to believe that p, and everyone has a reason to believe that everyone has a reason to believe everyone has a reason to believe that p, and so on.
That people act on these reasons, or are known to act on these reasons, to form beliefs is unnecessary. And that the beliefs people would get if they acted on their reasons are true is also not part of the view.50 Successful Harvard Application Essays: What Worked for Them Can Help You Get into the College of Your Choice [Staff of the Harvard Crimson] on ashio-midori.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
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