Lewis, "Languages and Language"

Brief Comments

    1. There is a regularity R of the appropriate kind in P. (In our case, a regularity of truthfulness and trust in L.)
    2. Everyone believes that everyone else acts in accordance with the regularity.
    3. There is a general preference for general conformity to R.
    4. The fact that this regularity obtains gives individuals a reason (in conjunction with their other goals) to continue acting in accordance with the regularity.
    5. There are other possible regularities that could in principle work as well as the actual one, if they were followed as widely.
    6. All the above facts are "common knowledge," in the sense that everyone knows them, and everyone knows that everyone knows them, etc.

Last update: April 27, 2010
Curtis Brown | Philosophy of LanguagePhilosophy Department | Trinity University