Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

The Philosophy of David Lewis PHIL5081

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course studies the philosophy of David Lewis, asking both about the viability of his theories on particular topics and about the systematic coherence of his work.


2 lectures per week for 9 weeks, plus 4 seminars. The course may not run every year. Options running this year are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level

Excluded Courses





Two essays, equally weighted, each with a word limit of 2500 words.

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:


■ Introduce students to the philosophical work of David Lewis;

■ Familiarize students with Lewis's theories in a number of areas of metaphysics, philosophy of language, epistemology, and value theory;

■ Enhance students' capacity to analyse a philosophical system as a whole, and to think systematically themselves.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


■ Reconstruct and assess Lewis's philosophical system taken as a whole;

■ Critically discuss which parts of the system, if any, are independent of the rest;

■ Critically evaluate Lewis's reductionism and the major challenges it faces;

■ Critically evaluate Lewis's arguments for believing in a plurality of worlds;

■ Explain and critically assess Lewis's theories of particular subject matters (including laws of nature, colours, qualia).


Assessment for this course is at Masters Level.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.