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David Lewis (1941)

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David Kellogg Lewis (September 28, 1941 – October 14, 2001) was an American philosopher. Lewis taught briefly at UCLA and then at Princeton from 1970 until his death. He is also closely associated with Australia, whose philosophical community he visited almost annually for more than thirty years. He has made contributions in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophical logic. He is probably best known for his controversial modal realist stance: that possible worlds exist, every possible world is a concrete entity, any possible world is causally and spatiotemporally isolated from any other possible world, and our world is among the possible worlds. This view has a wide variety of uses in providing a framework for philosophical thought, including providing a non-modal analysis of necessity and possibility. A recent poll conducted among philosophers ranked Lewis the thirteenth most important philosopher of the past 200 years.

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 early life and education
Lewis was born in Oberlin, Ohio, to John D. Lewis, a Professor of Government at Oberlin College, and Ruth Ewart Kelloggs Lewis, a distinguished medieval historian. The formidable intellect for which he was known later in his life was already manifest during his years at Oberlin High School, when he attended college lectures in chemistry. He went on to Swarthmore College and spent a year at Oxford (1959–1960), where he was tutored by Iris Murdoch and attended lectures by Gilbert Ryle, H. P. Grice, P. F. Strawson, and J. L. Austin. It was his year at Oxford that played a seminal role in his decision to study philosophy, and which made him the quintessentially analytic philosopher that he would soon become. Lewis went on to receive his Ph.D from Harvard in 1967, where he studied under W. V. O. Quine, many of whose views he came to repudiate. It was there that his connection with Australia was first established when he took a seminar with J. J. C. Smart, a leading Australian philosopher. "I taught David Lewis," Smart would say in later years, "Or rather, he taught me."

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "David Kellogg Lewis", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.