Convention: A Philosophical Study by David Lewis

By David Lewis

Publish yr note: First released October fifteenth 1987 consistent with Goodreads - yet I see OD says 1969.

Convention used to be instantly well-known as an enormous contribution to the topic and its importance has remained undiminished when you consider that its first ebook in 1969. Lewis analyzes social conventions as regularities within the answer of habitual coordination problems-situations characterised by means of interdependent selection techniques during which universal pursuits are at stake. Conventions are contrasted with other forms of regularity, and conventions governing platforms of verbal exchange are given precise recognition.

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A similar response is available to those inside the moral game. One’s admitting that moral rules are social conventions does not mean one admits moral rules are unreal. And if one changes the fundamental moral rules (perhaps we agree that theft is permissible), the result will not be a moral system. My reply is to admit that there is a sense in which speaking of the reality of rules of golf and the reality of rules of morality make sense, but that this sense cannot be consumed by the thicker sense that moral realists require.

In Chapter 6, I argue that a similarity exists between the successful strategies in various games, and this will have something to do with conditional cooperation. From this, we can extrapolate the following abbreviated normative rule: Do not do unto others without their consent. I shall call this the principle of consent. At first view, the principle of consent will not appear to be a conditional strategy, but any other player, B, who rejects the principle of consent releases any player, A, from any wrongdoing toward B.

17 If the relation is symmetrical, moral properties may be said to fully reduce to non-moral properties. Such a strict identity thesis is hard to accept, however, since we can imagine many changes at the non-moral level without altering our moral stance. In fact, the idea that morality is to be impartial and universal highlights the asymmetrical relation between moral properties and non-moral properties. Moral reductionist theories demand strict symmetrical supervenience. But if the supervenience relation is asymmetrical only, it would appear that moral properties are still something beyond non-moral properties.

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