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Essays on Actions and Events - Oxford Scholarship

Similarly the relativist who holds that therecan be radical discontinuities in belief or in the world betweenourselves and others (and against whom Davidson argues in `On the VeryIdea of a Conceptual Scheme' [1974]) misunderstands the extent towhich a vast body of agreed, true belief is a necessary presuppositioneven of the attribution of belief.

Davidson, Donald. Essays on Actions and Events. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980).

Davidson points out that beliefs and meanings are inseparable. A person holds a sentence true based on what he believes and what he takes the sentence to mean. If the interpreter knew what a person believed when that person held a sentence to be true, the meaning of the sentence could then be inferred. Vice versa, if the interpreter knew what a person took a sentence to mean when that person held it to be true, the belief of the speaker could be inferred. So Davidson doesn't allow the interpreter to have access to beliefs as evidence, since the interpreter would then be begging the question. Instead, Davidson allows that the interpreter can reasonably ascertain when a speaker holds a sentence true, without knowing anything about a particular belief or meaning. This will then allow the interpreter to construct hypotheses relating a speaker and an utterance to a particular at a particular time.

Essays on Actions and Events Donald Davidson ..

Davidson, Donald. (1985), "Reply to Quine on Events." in LePore, E., and McLaughlin,

Alfred North Whitehead’s metaphysics is the most advanced and sophisticated version of process philosophy, an ontology that takes events rather than enduring substances as the basic units of reality. The mature expression of this theory was delivered as the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 1928 and published as Process and Reality. This course examines the emergence of Whitehead’s event ontology from his early concerns with Einstein’s theory of relativity to the comprehensive system of Process and Reality. This theory will be critically evaluated from the point of view of traditional substance theorists such as Aristotle and Peter Strawson. Whitehead’s event theory will also be compared with that of Bertrand Russell, W. V. Quine and Donald Davidson.

The Davidsonian theory of knowledge represents the central theme in the third book in the series, Subjective, intersubjective, objective. This slim volume presents D’s ambitious project of constructing a comprehensive theory framing linguistic and nonlinguistic behaviors together in the interpretation of meaning.

Donald Davidson, Essays on Actions and Events - …

Actions and Events: Perspectives on the Philosophy of Donald Davidson. (Oxford:

Donald Davidson’s views about the relationship between our conceptions of ourselves as people and as complex physical objects have had significant impact on contemporary discussions of such topics as intention, action, causal explanation and weakness of the will. His collection of essays, Actions and Events (1980), contains many seminal contributions in these areas. But perhaps even greater has been the influence of Davidson’s philosophy of language, as reflected especially in Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation (1984). Among the philosophical issues connected to language on which Davidson has been influential are the nature of truth, the semantic paradoxes, first person authority, indexicals, modality, reference, quotation, metaphor, indeterminacy, convention, realism and the publicity of language.

During the 1950s Davidson worked with on developing an experimental approach to . They concluded that it was not possible to isolate a subject's beliefs and preferences independently of one another, meaning there would always be multiple ways to analyze a person's actions in terms of what they wanted, or were trying to do, or valued. This result is comparable to Quine's thesis on the , and figures significantly in much of Davidson's later work on philosophy of mind.

Actions and events : perspectives on the philosophy of Donald Davidson
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Donald Davidson: Essays on actions and events

Davidson's commitment to the rationality of the mental as oneof the cornerstones of anomalous monism, as well as of the projectof `radical interpretation', has led him totake a special interest in the problem of apparently irrationalbelief and action - a problem first addressed in `How is Weaknessof the Will Possible?' (1970).

Essays on Actions and Events : Donald Davidson : …

Since Davidson rejects both sceptical and relativist positions,while nevertheless insisting of the indispensability of an irreduciblybasic concept of objective truth, Davidson cannot be easily situatedwith respect to the realist/anti-realist controversy that, until quiterecently, was a major concern of many Anglo-American philosophers. TheDavidsonian position has, nevertheless, been variously assimilated, atdifferent times and by different critics, to both the realist and theanti-realist camp. Yet realism and anti-realism are equallyunsatisfactory from a Davidsonian point of view, since neither iscompatible with the holistic and externalist character of knowledge andbelief. Realism makes truth inaccessible (inasmuch as it admits thesceptical possibility that even our best-confirmed theories about theworld could all be false), while anti-realism makes truth too epistemic(inasmuch as it rejects the idea of truth as objective). In thisrespect, and as he himself makes clear (see ‘The Structure andContent of Truth’), Davidson does not merely reject the specificpremises that underlie the realist and anti-realist positions, butviews the very dispute between them as essentially misconceived. Thisreflects a characteristic feature of Davidson's thinking in general(and not just as it relates to realism and anti-realism), namely itsresistance to any simple classification using the standardphilosophical categories of the day.

Essays on Actions and Events by Donald Davidson

In particular, it is possiblethat a mental event - an event given under some mental description- will not be connected, by means of any strict law, with anyphysical event - an event under some physical description - eventhough those events may be causally related, simply because therewill be no law that connects those events That there are indeed no strict psychophysicallaws, according to Davidson, follows from the fact that eventsunder mental descriptions are constrained by principles of overallconsistency and coherence - principles of rationality - that donot obtain with respect to events described in physical terms.

Mental Events : Essays on Actions and Events - oi

In this waywe arrive at T-sentences such as "'Schnee ist weiss' is trueif and only if snow is white." In order to overcome Tarski'sown qualms about applying his approach to natural languages, animportant part of Davidson's work has been to show how featuresof natural language that appear to require resources beyond thoseavailable to the basic Tarskian approach can, nevertheless, beanalysed so as to make them amenable to a Tarskian treatment.

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