No Work For a Theory of Universals

In Jonathan Schaffer & Barry Loewer (eds.), A Companion to David Lewis. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 116-137 (2015)
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Abstract

Several variants of Lewis's Best System Account of Lawhood have been proposed that avoid its commitment to perfectly natural properties. There has been little discussion of the relative merits of these proposals, and little discussion of how one might extend this strategy to provide natural property-free variants of Lewis's other accounts, such as his accounts of duplication, intrinsicality, causation, counterfactuals, and reference. We undertake these projects in this paper. We begin by providing a framework for classifying and assessing the variants of the Best System Account. We then evaluate these proposals, and identify the most promising candidates. We go on to develop a proposal for systematically modifying Lewis's other accounts so that they, too, avoid commitment to perfectly natural properties. We conclude by briefly considering a different route one might take to developing natural property-free versions of Lewis's other accounts, drawing on recent work by Williams.

Author Profiles

Christopher J. G. Meacham
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Maya Eddon
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

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