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Conceptual Analysis and Philosophical Naturalism$
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David Braddon-Mitchell and Robert Nola

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262012560

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262012560.001.0001

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Ramseyan Humility

Ramseyan Humility

Chapter:
(p.203) 9 Ramseyan Humility
Source:
Conceptual Analysis and Philosophical Naturalism
Author(s):

David Lewis

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262012560.003.0009

This chapter focuses on the thesis of Humility and how it has led to disagreements between philosophers. Being the ground of a certain disposition is only one case among many of role-occupancy. Generally, to the extent that we know of the properties of things only as role-occupants, those properties are yet to be identified. No amount of knowledge about what roles are occupied will tell us which properties occupy which roles. While this chapter does not agree with Langton that the predicament is “ominous,” it accepts that it exists. First, the chapter argues from fairly weak assumptions that Humility applies to at least some of the fundamental properties. Next it argues from somewhat more contentious assumptions that it applies to all of them. Finally it is argued that if Humility applies to most or all of the fundamental properties, then it spreads to a great range of less than fundamental properties—intrinsic and extrinsic alike.

Keywords:   thesis of Humility, role-occupancy, Langton, fundamental properties, disposition

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