Tag Archives: lewis

Rudolf Carnap and David Lewis on Metaphysics: A Question of Historical Ancestry

Volume 9.1 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access:


It features an article by Fraser MacBride, called ” Rudolf Carnap and David Lewis on Metaphysics: A Question of Historical Ancestry.” Here is the abstract:

In an unpublished speech from 1991, David Lewis told his audience that he counted ‘the metaphysician Carnap (not to be confused with the anti-metaphysician Carnap, who is better known)’ amongst his historical ancestors. Here I provide a novel interpretation of the Aufbau that allows us to make sense of Lewis’s claim. Drawing upon Lewis’s correspondence, I argue it was the Carnap of the Aufbau whom Lewis read as a metaphysician, because Carnap’s appeal to the notion of founded relations in the Aufbau echoes Lewis’s own appeal to the metaphysics of natural properties. I further maintain that Lewis was right to read Carnap this way and that the notion of a founded relation has a legitimate claim to be both logical and metaphysical. I also argue that Carnap’s initial response to Goodman’s puzzle about ‘grue’ relies upon a metaphysics of simple properties which also prefigures Lewis’s own response to Goodman invoking natural properties.

JHAP is a free, open-access, peer-reviewed journal. It is available at https://jhaponline.org/. Submissions welcome!