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Analytic Philosophy in AmericaAnd Other Historical and Contemporary Essays$
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Scott Soames

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691160726

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691160726.001.0001

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David Lewis’s Place in Analytic Philosophy

David Lewis’s Place in Analytic Philosophy

(p.139) 6 David Lewis’s Place in Analytic Philosophy
Analytic Philosophy in America

Scott Soames

Princeton University Press

This chapter is devoted to one of the most fascinating figures of the twentieth century, David Lewis. The key to understanding this author of so many works in so many areas of philosophy is to see how his views are related to those of his colleague Saul Kripke as well as to those of his teacher W. V. O. Quine. Like Kripke, Lewis embraced the modalities (necessity and a priority) that Quine rejected. Also like Kripke, Lewis had no sympathy for Quine’s early verificationism or his flights from intension and intention, and he was straightforwardly a realist about science in general. However, despite these similarities with Kripke, Lewis’s analysis of necessity could not be more different from Kripke’s. Quine taught that vindicating naturalism and extensionalism required eliminating intensional facts and rejecting intensional constructions, his student Lewis, however, tried to show that intensional facts are just a species of extensional facts, and that intensional constructions in language are no threat to the integrity of an austere, naturalistic vision of reality.

Keywords:   David Lewis, Saul Kripke, W. V. O. Quine, naturalism, extensionalism, intensional facts, intensional constructions, verificationism

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