forum 2: week of 16 Jan - Lewis

Fragment of a discussion from Course talk:Phil440A
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This is not really in response to either of your questions, but I am uncomfortable with the the rule of conservatism ( and it has nothing to do with my political views). Lewis suggests that the rule of conservatism can be derived from the rule of reliability and vice versa, I am not sure I agree. I agree that the rule of reliability could be derived from the rule of conservatism, however I am not sure it works the other way around. This is likely because of my discomfort with the conservatism rule. While I am willing to ignore many possibilities, in certain contexts, because doing so allows communication to occur, such as the examples regarding the use of words like: all, never, every and none. However depending on the context one could be required to consider truly absurd possibilities, or ignore reality, the latter is dealt with by the rule of actuality. The former though that one could be required to consider the ridiculous bothers me and is also a problem with the rule of attentiveness. As a result of either rule, if I were to attend a starwars or bigfoot convention I would be forced to consider the possibilities that bigfoot exists and starwars may have actually happened a long time ago and in a galaxy far far away. And while I think Lewis may be able to do without the rule of conservatism he seems commited to the rule of attention, for that reason contextualism is unappealing to my sceptics heart.

20:13, 18 January 2012

I also feel unsure about Lewis' rule of conservatism. From what I understood it sounded like this rule allows one to properly ignore certain possibilities if others commonly ignore it as well. It might be a misunderstanding of this rule on my part, but this seems to weaken and if not undermine some of Lewis' other rules. If one allows common knowledge to guide their reasoning then it seems that it would just leave one with assumptions, rather than any true knowledge. Lewis mentioned how the rule of conservatism can be derived from other rules and vice versa, but I was unclear of whether this rule could stand on it's own when properly ignoring a possibility.

23:37, 19 January 2012