Assessing David Lewis' Materialism 


 by Giorgio Baruchello



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(c) Sic et Non - Forum for Philosophy and Culture (2002) -


In this essay I comment on David Lewis’ self-description as a reductionistic materialist, and on his intention to formulate a fundamental ontology that may take into account the results of contemporary science, especially those of physics. With regard to the former point, I argue that his materialism is rather vague and open to the controversial acceptance of non-material and unscientific entities, which little have to do with the usual understanding of reductionism and of materialism. With regard to the latter point, I argue that Lewis’ endorsement of the "scientific worldview" is timid and restrained by an equally relevant endorsement of the "commonsensical worldview." In conclusion, I defend the idea that Lewis should be considered an "ontological pluralist," as this term is intended by the neopragmatist Michele Marsonet.



1. Introduction

A considerable number of David Lewis’ works in philosophy have been recently republished in a three-volume collection in the Cambridge Studies in Philosophy by Cambridge University Press. The second volume in this set is devoted to his papers in metaphysics, ontology, and epistemology. (1)

It is extremely interesting to have the chance of approaching Lewis’ thought through this extensive selection of his writings, for it allows to get a better grasp on their more general distinctive traits. (2) Each paper of his, in fact, tends to be too specific and technical to permit such an overall grasp, but the fact of having so many of them together, and on such diverse topics as intrinsic properties, holes, truthmakers, and qualia, constitutes the perfect occasion to acquire a sense of the fil rouge linking them all. (3)

I want to comment on a single, particular aspect of such underpinning thread, which I believe being both extremely relevant and rather controversial. It is relevant in the sense of it playing an important role in Lewis’ approach to philosophy. It is controversial in the sense of it highlighting tensions either inherent to Lewis’ own thinking or relative to Lewis’ position and those of his colleagues’.

2. Materialism & Science

The aspect that I have in mind is Lewis’ self-declared project for the formulation of a fundamental, comprehensive, materialist ontology, which can take into serious account the data furnished by contemporary natural sciences, and by physics in particular. As Lewis himself sketches it, this ontology can be placed under the label of "Materialism," namely:

[T]he thesis that physics – something not too different from present-day physics, though presumably somewhat improved – is a comprehensive theory of the world, complete as well as correct. The world is as physics says it is, and there’s no more to say. World history written in physical language is all of world history. (4)

Of course, "that is rough speaking indeed," and Lewis’ "goal will be to give a better formulation," namely "to formulate Materialism as a supervenience thesis: no difference without physical difference." (5) Thus, in a more refined way, he restates "Materialism" as follows: "Among worlds where no natural properties alien to our world are instantiated, no two differ without differing physically; any two such worlds that are exactly alike physically are duplicates." (6)

Seen from a different angle, Lewis’ position could be even defined as a contemporary version of "physicalism," insofar as it is up to physics to determine the natural properties around which his ontology orbits. In Lewis’ own words: "[P]hysicalists take physics – as it is now, or as it will be – at face value. And physics profess to discover the elite properties," through which we can determine "objective sameness and difference, joints in the world, discriminatory classifications not of our own making." (7) Physics, and no other science, is the instrument to be used to undermine anti-realist and phenomenological hypotheses, the claims of which irritate Lewis’ "a priori reductionism about everything." (8)

As mentioned in the introduction, this element of Lewis’ way of philosophizing is relevant: it is meant to justify his aspirations to the reduction of the number and of the kinds of beings to be admitted in his fundamental ontology. It is also controversial, though, since [A] it implies the presence of a conflict with those who are not committed to the materialist, physicalist, and, up to a certain extent, reductionist program as David Lewis is; and and [B] for his reductionism is so "minimal," as he himself observes, (9) that it becomes difficult to believe that he is defending a materialist position at all, at least in the sense that this term has inherited through the centuries, from Democritus and Epicure, through Roscelin and Hobbes, to Condillac, and Marx – a position for which all that exists is matter. As I am going to show, Lewis is more prone to state that all that matters does exist.

With respect to [A] Lewis clearly states: "I am an ‘Australian materialist:’ I have long held that mental states are states, presumably physical states of the brain, definable as occupants of certain folk-psychological causal roles." (10) Beyond the mere area of psychophysics, the hope is that "Theoretical advances make it possible to simplify total science by positing bridge laws identifying some of the entities discussed in one theory with entities discussed in another theory." To understand, instances of this kind are "the identification of water with H2O, of light with electromagnetic radiation, and so on." These correspondences being "not merely… posit[ed]… for the sake of parsimony," on the contrary they being implied by the theory at stake. (11)

With respect to [B], Lewis admits that:

(1) Materialism is not a thesis of finite translatability of all our language into the language of physics. (2) Materialism is not to be identified with any one Materialist theory of mind. It is a thesis that motivates a variety of theories of mind: versions of Behaviourism, Functionalism, the mind-body identity theory, even the theory that mind is all a mistake. (3) Materialism is not just the theory that there are no things except those recognised by physics… (4) That suggests that Materialism is, at least in part, the thesis that there are no natural properties instantiated at our world except those recognised by physics… [Although] a Materialist ought not to hold that all natural properties instantiated in our world are physical properties. (12)

The faith in materialism gets "softer" and "softer," dwindling his materialist reductionism via interposition of qualifications and provisos of various sort. Besides, materialism becomes also less and less convincing as an ideal goal, or as a school of thought, it being multivalent and profoundly differentiated. Physics seems to become less and less the only and absolute ruler inside the project for an ultimate ontology. Not all natural properties might be physical, after all, therefore it would not be the task of physics alone "to provide an inventory of all the fundamental properties and relations that occur in the world." (13) Materialism itself, at the end of the day, "is meant to be a contingent thesis, a merit of our world that not all other worlds share." (14)

3. Physis, Nomos, Zeus, and Pandora’s Box

It is my opinion that Lewis’ self-restraining corrections make his position so blandly materialistic, that referring to it as "materialist" becomes irrelevant. I state this since [1] his materialism is indeed very generous towards hardly material entities such as "gods and spooks," (15) [2] whereas the "scientific worldview" that he espouses is not very distant from the "commonsensical worldview" of the average Western reader to whom his works are directed. (16)

As for [1], namely the generosity of his ontology, it is not difficult to find passages where Lewis proves to be open to many realms of legitimate existence that many a materialist (e.g. D’Holbach, Spencer, or Schlick) would probably discharge:

Among ‘things’ I mean to include all the gerrymandered wholes and undermarcated parts admitted by the most permissive mereology. Further, I include such physical objects as spatiotemporal regions and force fields, unless an eliminative reduction of them should prove desirable. Further, I include such nonphysical objects as gods and spooks though not – I hope – as parts of the same world as us. Worlds themselves need no special treatment. They are things – big ones, for the most part. (17)

All these ‘things’ can be admitted because Lewis defends:


[An] ontology [that], though Nominalistic, is in other respects generous. It consists of possibilia – particular, individual things, some of which comprise our actual world and others of which are unactualised – together with the iterative hierarchy built up from them. (18)

Naturally, one might try to defend Lewis by stressing the distinction between possibilia and actuality, but this is eminently and firstly an epistemological distinction, not solely and uniquely an ontological one. What we assume as being possible at one stage is something that we could discover to pertain to our actual world at another stage. Experiments are set in physics to prove that the entities postulated by our mathematical models are actually there. Gestalt effects are employed in psychology labs to demonstrate that perceptual experience actually involves more than the mere physical stimuli entailed by it. Mystical visions or divine illuminations are granted to some (fortunate? hallucinated?) subjects as to bestow on them the certainty that what they believed possible is actually there. Moreover, just this sort of distinction is somehow blurred in Lewis’ accounts, leaving more than enough room to my interpretation – and to the Pandora’s box of the "right" one: (19)

In the broadest sense, all possible individuals without exception, even the poached eggs, are possibilities for me… But some possibilities are accessible to me in various ways, others are not. My counterparts by description are metaphysically accessible to me; or better, each counterpart-by-description relation is a relation of metaphysical accessibility. My alternatives are visually, perceptually, doxastically, epistemically,… accessible to me. Metaphysical and (for instance) epistemic possibilities for me are not things of two different sorts. They are possibilia out of the same logical space. The difference is in the accessibility. (20)

And the accessibility is not determined once and for all, through a verification principle or an axiom of observability of some sort. "if the subject has two alternatives in a single world, we need not wonder which is the right one. That is a question to settle by stipulation." (21)

Even more permissive sounds Lewis in the following passage:

[W]e cannot limit ourselves to ‘real’ possibilities that conform to the actual the laws of nature, and maybe also to actual past history. For propositions about laws and history are contingent, and may or may not be known. (22)

Lewis has no sharp preclusion to existing alternatives, for ontology is a "work in progress" sensitive to the changes taking place in the human system of knowledge. Some of the alternatives not available right now, for they cannot be defined as members of the materialist family, might become feasible in the future. Magnanimously, when discussing the issue of necessity, Lewis writes:

Perhaps God’s existence may be supposed to be necessary in some sense. Yet in a second sense, it still might be contingent. (We could expect disagreement about which sense is straightforward and which sense is artificial.) A conviction that the property of being divinely created is not intrinsic would then be evidence, for those of us who are prepared to take the supposition of God’s necessary existence seriously, that it is the second sense and not the first that should be used in defining ‘intrinsic.’ (23)

En passant, while discussing the distinction between ‘extrinsic’ (i.e. external, disjunctive) and ‘intrinsic’ (i.e. internal, conjunctive) properties, Lewis leaves the door open to God himself - or Zeus, if one prefers. (24)

Rather poorly for a true advocate of physics and "a priori reductionism," the only clear case of strict materialism seems to be the one regarding the phenomenological data of experience. In such a circumstance, in fact, Lewis defends a thorough supervenience thesis. It is when he discusses the "reduction of mind" that he writes: (25)

It is a task of physics to provide an inventory of all the fundamental properties and relations that occur in the world… If materialism is true, as I believe it is, then the a priori supervenience of everything upon the pattern of coinstantiation of fundamental properties and relations yields an a posteriori supervenience of everything upon the pattern of coinstantiation of fundamental physical properties and relations. (26)


Quite understandably, one would be tempted to take this passage as the sanguinem et succum of Lewis’ thinking. Probably, he himself would like to do so. Unfortunately, as the previous quotes want to show, such a move is largely dubious, if not illegitimate. Moreover, as I am stressing right now, the truer expressions of thorough materialism appear almost entirely in his essays on phenomenological entities alone, and are not paired with equally powerful claims in the others. (27)

Why is Lewis so straightforward when it becomes an issue of phainomena? Maybe because phenomenological entities are the crucial differentiation between analytical ontologies and several Continental ones, Lewis seems not very keen to being perceived as ambiguous at all. (28)

Still, in the end, there are two voices speaking behind the lines: that of a "strict" David Lewis, devotee of the materialist credo, and that of a "munificent" David Lewis, who could embrace Leibniz, Carnap, and Rescher.

As for [2], namely the curious harmony between the "scientific worldview" and the "commonsensical" one, it can be said that Lewis’ accounts on the reality of physis, i.e. the realm to the description of which natural sciences are destined, do not give us a very different picture of the world as commonsense does. Incidentally, I like to refer to the "commonsensical worldview" with the Greek term nomos, as to indicate the more man-made character that it is often attributed to it. (29)

A good example of this peaceful - or even "contrived" to peace - co-existence of the two worldviews can be drawn from Lewis’ discussion on the issue of persistence of objects through time. There, Lewis rejects Lowe’ and others’ claims that properties are relations to times, or that there is only one real time, namely the present, because they contradict our intuitions. Logic and epistemology, in other words, must cohere with our ordinary insights, rather than disturbing them and asking for a top-down reconstruction. (30)

A further instance in this sense can be envisaged in Lewis’ theory of colours, which he wants it to be "both materialistic and commonsensical." (31) No radical physicalist approach is justified. Indeed, "it is a Moorean fact that there are colours rightly so-called. Deny it, and the most credible explanation of your denial is that you are in the grip of some philosophical (or scientific) error." Thus, rather than relying on hard-wired sense-based accounts, Lewis prefers working on the ordinary use of linguistic expressions concerning colours, as well as on "folk psychophysics," which, "it is a Moorean fact… is close to true." (32) Lewis is ready to dismiss any aspiration to precision, if it is necessary to preserve the integrity of the "commonsensical view," for if one asks whether my ‘red’ and ‘yours’ are the same ‘red, "a straight answer would be unwise." (33)

Similarly, we read that "folk psychology," and not science, "sets presumptive limits on what our contents of belief and desire can be… In short, folk psychology says that we make sense. It credits us with a modicum of rationality." (34)

Not too distant is also Lewis’ response to the paradox of 1001 cats, namely that Tibbles-the-cat gradually sheds in the Springtime, hence it has up to, say, 1000 parts that cannot be said to be fully his, and therefore that there are actually many cats, and not just one, depending on whether we attribute some of those hairs to be still Tibbles’ or not. Now, even if Lewis’ arguments leave the semantic decision open, and entail just a limited, "partial," "almost-identity" thesis, he still concludes that "context will settle the matter" and that our linguistic habits still "give us some good sense in which there is just one cat." (35)

Even more representative of this "wedding" of physis and nomos is Lewis’ treatment of individual substances. Instead of breaking them down into bunches of force fields, or sub-atomic particles, or quanta of energy, he assumes that we can distinguish:

[Between] Bruce [and] the cat-shaped chunk of miscellaneous and everchanging matter that follows him around, always a few steps behind… Bruce, unlike the cat-shaped chunk, has a boundary well demarcated by differences in highly natural properties. Where Bruce ends, there the density of matter, the relative abundance of the chemical elements,… abruptly change. Not so for the chunk. (36)

Now, this account may be very sensible prima facie, but it sounds rather dubious at a closer scrutiny. It is hardly applicable, in fact, to the real "Bruces" hanging around in the real world. Lewis’ boundary-criterion is highly dependent on context and very limited in the information it can give us. For instance, should Bruce be mounting Lily, or should Bruce be piled on a stake with a bunch of other cats to be burnt as an animal of Satan, then boundaries would be far more complicated to delineate, especially for physics. Biology could help us indeed, but biology clearly relies on categories drawn from commonsense, thus being a sort of hybrid. Furthermore, whether the poor cat is dead or alive, possible or actual, is not something that can be easily determined through Lewis’ criterion. Nomos would tell us something (viz. Bruce is sleeping) , physis would tell us something else (viz. Biology – Bruce is in a coma; Physics - ? Life is not its business…). (37)



4. Ontological Pluralism

Lewis’ acceptance of a wide, complex ontology is not something against which I want to argue. On the contrary, I do believe that the world itself is wide and complex, and that, therefore, it deserves an ontology of this sort. I am surprised, yet, to find an allied in Lewis, especially after considering the way he likes to depict himself – an ‘Australian materialist.’ (38)

If I had to determine a point of reference as for the inclinations that I tend to favor in matters of fundamental ontology, then I would elect Michele Marsonet as exemplar. As a devote follower of John Dewey and a full-blooded critic of Richard Rorty, he is profoundly dubious about any reductionist program that aims at simplifying the manifold scenery of the universe. Marsonet is a devoted believer in scientific objectivity, but he is an even more devoted believer in the Pragmatists’ aspiration towards the unity of all sciences. This explains why neither logic nor physics can be the exclusive guides to the accomplishment of a fundamental ontology. These two practices are too fond of "mutilations" and cold-blooded disciplinary "cleansing." Marsonet does not take Ockham’s razor as an absolute, all-purposes regulative ideal. A razor is not a Swiss-army-knife, and it must be used only when it is convenient. While dealing with Quine’s "ontological reductionism," he writes that Ockham’s razor:

[I]s not such a good ontological criterion: why should we decide to simplify, following our personal taste and opinions, a reality which is itself complex? The fact of the matter is, in my view, that we must make out our ontological decisions on empirical bases, and not on logical and linguistic ones. (39)

And the results of Marsonet’s empirical observations are that:

There are O1 objects like dreams. Their existence, however, is strictly dependent on human minds, in the sense that, should mankind disappear, there would no longer be dreams.

There are O2 objects like books. Their existence is still tied to human minds as far as we consider both their contents (ideas and theories contained in the books, etc.) and their shapes (their book-like appearance), but not when we take into account their ultimate material ingredients which belong to an external and mind-independent reality.

There are O3 objects like trees from which the cellulose we use to make paper (and thus books) ultimately comes. Their existence is not dependent on human minds. (40)

Such an "overcrowded" ontology should not be "shaved" with "Ockham’s razor," which would like to nullify or reduce O1 and O2 to O3. All these levels partakes of the predicate of existence, which is real for both cases of mind-related and mind-independent entities. Naturalism, in Marsonet’s view, does not imply either materialism or reductionism. The world is big enough for all sorts of things. It is rather a matter of accepting O1 and O2 as legitimate parts of the natural world, insofar as the human mind and what derives from it are seen as:

[T]he terminal (by now) point of an evolutionary (natural) process which is still under way. Our world (i.e. nature-as-we-conceive-it) would not even exist without mind’s capacity of conceptualizing and, as a matter of fact, we cannot even imagine a different way for getting in touch with reality itself. (41)

Still, one thing is to find a good example of ontological pluralism coming from a (neo)pragmatist, another is an analogous example coming from a self-incensed physicalist. One should expect Lewis to be fond of "chopping off" branches and leaves. On the contrary, his fundamental ontology resembles a sumptuous tropical garden. Moreover, non-material entities such as "spatiotemporal regions and force fields" are placed among other beings, rather than being located underneath such beings. If I were to define myself as a materialist and, even more so, as a physicalist, I would see such realities as the ultimate "stuff" of which the universe is made, and to which my fundamental ontology would grant a position of honor. The rest would not be merely supervenient, but even fictitious.

5. Conclusion

Several materialist, scientific-oriented options are open. Some of them would be probably more appealing to a Buddhist than to a Westerner, some others would be more familiar to the heirs of Lucretius, Condorcet, or Bechterev. Today’s reductionists are not so difficult to find out in areas such as genetics, sociobiology, neurophysiology, biophysics, and sub-atomic physics. Now, as anticipated in note 18, Lewis is not completely clear about the stance that he is actually taking on this theoretical knot. As shown, there are claims pointing to the materialist & reductionist end, as well as others pointing to the opposite one, i.e. that of ontological pluralism. The tension between such contrasting options is waiting for Lewis to come up with a candid, sharp solution. In the meanwhile, it is probably better to put Lewis with Marsonet and myself, i.e. within a group separate from that of Hobbes and Sade’. (42)

From what I can read behind Lewis’ lines, their option is likely not to be commonsensical enough for him. He does not seem willing to offend the reader’s ears by forcing any strong confinement onto ordinary language and folk psychology, which would be the case if they were expected to entail the materialist and reductionist radicalism typical of this triplet. In Lewis, either science is just a part of the commonsensical worldview, or the common-sense is too intertwined with science to make the distinction feasible. In either case, Physis and nomos go hand in hand: they are not contrasting each other, but complementing and interpenetrating each other. In Lewis’ fundamental ontology there is no room for scandal. Or, if any scandal is permitted, it is more likely to be on the side of the Icelandic engineers, who will change the planned route of the new highway not to disturb the elves living on the hill. (43)





Main References

Lewis, D. (1999), Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology, Cambridge: C.U.P.

- (1983), Philosophical Papers I, Oxford: O.U.P.

- (1986), Philosophical Papers II, Oxford: O.U.P.

Marsonet, M. (1996), The Primacy of Practical Reason. An Essay on Nicholas Rescher’s Philosophy, Lanham: University Press of America.

- (1995), Science, Reality, and Language, Albany: S.U.N.Y. Press.






(1) Lewis, D. (1999), Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. The articles therein reprinted or published for the first time cover the period 1983-1999. The other two volumes contain Lewis’ papers in philosophical logic and ethics. (back)

(2) A minimal previous knowledge of Lewis’ work is presumed by my essay. (back)

(3) The first six papers of the collection deal with properties and universals (1. New work for a theory of universals, 2. Putnam’s paradox, 3. Against structural universals, 4. A comment on Armstrong and Forrest, 5. Extrinsic properties, 6. Defining ‘intrinsic’). The following four papers deal with the issue of ontological commitment (7. Finkish dispositions, 8. Noneism or allism?, 9. Many, but almost one, 10. Casati and Varzi on holes). The subsequent five papers deal with possibility, causality, and chance (11. Rearrangement of particles: Reply to Lowe, 12. Armstrong on combinatorial possibility, 13. A world of truthmakers?, 14. Maudlin and modal mystery, 15. Humean Supervenience debugged). Then, four others after them are devoted to the analysis of the mind-body problem and of the issue of qualia (16. Psychophysical and theoretical identifications, 17. What experience teaches, 18. Reduction of mind, 19. Should a materialist believe in qualia?). Three papers tackle the metaphysics of colour and visual experience (20. Naming the colours, 21. Percepts and colour mosaics in visual experience, 22. Individuation by acquaintance and by stipulation). The conclusive three papers face questions about rational belief and other aspects of contemporary theory of knowledge (23. Why conditionalize? 24. What puzzling Pierre does not believe, 25. Elusive knowledge). I shall give references to Lewis’ book as follows: Lewis (1999), essay number, page number. (back)

(4) Lewis (1999), 1, 33-4. (back)

(5) Lewis (1999), 1, 34. (back)

(6) Lewis (1999), 1, 37. (back)

(7) Lewis (1999), 2, 67. (back)

(8) Lewis (1999), 18, 291; naturally, materialism and reductionsim do not imply each other, but in the case of David Lewis they stem together from his alleged faith in natural sciences. (back)

(9) Lewis (1999), 1, 34. (back)

(10) Lewis (1999), Introduction, 5. (back)

(11) Lewis (1999), 16, 248. (back)

(12) Lewis (1999), 1, 34. (back)

(13) Lewis (1999), 18, 292. (back)

(14) Lewis (1999), 1, 35. (back)

(15) Lewis (1999), 1, 9n. (back)

(16) "Western" is hereby meant to individuate a cultural community rather than a geographical one. (back)

(17) Id. (back)

(18) Lewis (1999), 1, 9. (back)

(19) A conclusive interpretation of Lewis’ position is rather difficult to attain, in my view, insofar as the tension that I am showing is not resolved. (back)

(20) Lewis (1999), 22, 400-1. (back)

(21) Lewis (1999), 22, 401. (back)

(22) Lewis (1999), 25, 423. (back)

(23) Lewis (1999), 6, 123. (back)

(24) Incidentally, it is annoying to read so much and so detailed material on logical puzzles, as Lewis gives us the opportunity to, and encounter no reference to the analogous, or even identical, debates that took place among, for instance, the Eleatics, the late Academics, and the Stoics. The lack of historical awareness is not only a deficiency of Lewis’ approach, but also a sign of disrespect for his past colleagues. Indeed, it seems that for Lewis their contributions can be justifiably omitted, if not neglected tout-court, just because they were written about twenty centuries, or longer, ago. Now, I would not expect a comprehensive recovery of all the possible sources, that is a work for historians of philosophy of course; rather, more humbly, I would ask for a few relevant references. (back)

(25) Lewis (1999), 18, 291. (back)

(26) Lewis (1999), 18, 292-3. (back)

(27) Lewis (1999), 16-19. (back)

(28) Incidentally, with regard to the essays 16-9, Lewis tends to ignore the intentional dimension in which experience takes place, and never questions the legitimacy of the sharp distinction between subject and object he employs. (back)

(29) I shall not discuss how "man-made" science itself and its results may or may not be. This is not a paper on realism. (back)

(30) Lewis (1999), 11, 187-8. (back)

(31) Lewis (1999), 20, 332. (back)

(32) Lewis (1999), 20, 333. (back)

(33) Lewis (1999), 20, 357. (back)

(34) Lewis (1999), 18, 320. (back)

(35) Lewis (1999), 9, 179-80. (back)

(36) Lewis (1999), 1, 49. (back)

(37) Were Pavlov alive today, he would probably ask rhetorically: Why to preserve such a complicated proliferating world of individual substances as ordinary language entails? Why not leaping down to sub-languages, clearer and better defined ones, such as those of physics and logic? Why to assume that we cannot de-construct reality into smaller material bits and make of them the sole actual basis for any fundamental ontology? Why not to disrupt our commonsensical worldview for a more scientific one, which would depict the world as an ocean of forces or quanta of energy? Lewis’ materialism would be too timid to endorse this materialist rhetoric. On the contrary, the only rhetoric I can individuate in his work is the appeal to the fashionable term "materialism," which is as intellectually "obvious" in today’s Australasian & Anglo-American Academia as "idealism" was in the 19th-century Prussian one. (back)

(38) See note 9. (back)

(39) Marsonet (1995), 31. (back)

(40) Marsonet (1995), 100. (back)

(41) Marsonet (1995), 101. (back)

(42) The dichotomy I employ hereby may sound forced, indeed various degrees and sub-groups might be outlined, but it plays an obvious hermeneutic role in illustrating the tension inside which Lewis’ thought is caught. (back)

(43) Having lived in Iceland for one year and half, I tend to take elves pretty seriously myself… (back)



About the author: 

Giorgio Baruchello
Sessional Instructor
University of Guelph
Department of Philosophy
Guelph, ON