It has been argued, partly from the lack of any widely accepted solution to the measurement problem, and partly from recent results from quantum information theory, that measurement in quantum theory is best treated as a black box. However, there is a crucial difference between ‘having no account of measurement' and ‘having no solution to the measurement problem'. We know a lot about measurements. Taking into account this knowledge sheds light on quantum theory as a theory of information and computation. (...) In particular, the scheme of ‘one-way quantnum computation' takes on a new character in light of the role that reference frames play in actually carrying out any one-way quantum comptuation. ‡Thanks to audiences at the PSA and the Centre for Time, University of Sydney, for helpful comments and questions. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208; e-mail: email@example.com. (shrink)
It has been suggested, on the one hand, that quantum states are just states of knowledge; and, on the other, that quantum theory is merely a theory of correlations. These suggestions are confronted with problems about the nature of psycho-physical parallelism and about how we could define probabilities for our individual future observations given our individual present and previous observations. The complexity of the problems is underlined by arguments that unpredictability in ordinary everyday neural functioning, ultimately stemming from small-scale uncertainties (...) in molecular motions, may overwhelm, by many orders of magnitude, many conventionally recognized sources of observed ``quantum'' uncertainty. Some possible ways of avoiding the problems are considered but found wanting. It is proposed that a complete understanding of the relationship between subjective experience and its physical correlates requires the introduction of mathematical definitions and indeed of new physical laws. (shrink)
The western-based leadership and ethics literatures were reviewed to identify the key characteristics that conceptually define what it means to be an ethical leader. Data from the Global Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness (GLOBE) project were then used to analyze the degree to which four aspects of ethical leadership – Character/Integrity, Altruism, Collective Motivation, and Encouragement – were endorsed as important for effective leadership across cultures. First, using multi-group confirmatory factor analyses measurement equivalence of the ethical leadership scales was found, which (...) provides indication that the four dimensions have similar meaning across cultures. Then, using analysis of variance (ANOVA) tests each of the four dimensions were found to be universally endorsed as important for effective leadership. However, cultures also varied significantly in the degree of endorsement for each dimension. In the increasingly global business environment, these findings have implications for organizations implementing ethics programs across cultures and preparing leaders for expatriate assignments. (shrink)
This paper examines the critical role that organizational leaders play in establishing a values based climate. We discuss seven mechanisms by which leaders convey the importance of ethical values to members, and establish the expectations regarding ethical conduct that become engrained in the organizations climate. We also suggest that leaders at different organizational levels rely on different mechanisms to transmit values and expectations. These mechanisms then influence members practices and expectations, further increase the salience of ethical values and result in (...) the shared perceptions that form the organizations climate. The paper is organized in three parts. Part onebegins with a brief discussion of climates regarding ethics and the critical role of values. Part two provides discussion on the mechanisms by which leaders and members transmit values and create climates related to ethics. Part three provides a discussion of these concepts with implications for theory, research, and practice. (shrink)
Quantum mechanics has sometimes been taken to be an empiricist (vs. realist) theory. I state the empiricist's argument, then outline a recently noticed type of measurement--protective measurement--that affords a good reply for the realist. This paper is a reply to scientific empiricism (about quantum mechanics), but is neither a refutation of that position, nor an argument in favor of scientific realism. Rather, my aim is to place realism and empiricism on an even score in regards to quantum theory.
This paper proposes a logic, motivated by modal interpretations, in which every quantum mechanics propositions has a truth-value. This logic is completely classical, hence violates the conditions of the Kochen-Specker theorem. It is shown how the violation occurs, and it is argued that this violation is a natural and acceptable consequence of modal interpretations. It is shown that despite its classicality, the proposed logic is empirically indistinguishable from quantum logic.
Taking a cue from Bohr’s use of the notion of a reference frame in his reply to EPR’s argument against the completeness (and consistency) of standard quantum theory, this paper presents an analysis ofthe role of reference frames in the situation considered by EPR, using a quantum‐theoretical account of physical reference frames based on the work of Mackey, and Aharonov and Kaufherr. That analysis appears to justify at least some crucial aspects of a Bohrian reply to EPR.
Corporate entrepreneurs -- described in the academic literature as those managers or employees who do not follow the status quo of their co-workers -- are depicted as visionaries who dream of taking the company in new directions. As a result, though, in overcoming internal obstacles to reaching their professional goals they can often walk a fine line between clever resourcefulness and outright rule breaking. A framework is presented as a guideline for middle managers and organizations seeking to impede unethical behaviors (...) in the pursuit of entrepreneurial activity. This paper examines the barriers middle managers face in trying to be entrepreneurial in less supportive environments, the ethical consequences that can result, and a suggested assessment and training program for averting such dilemmas. We advise companies that embrace corporate entrepreneurship: (1) establish the needed flexibility, innovation, and employee initiative and risk-taking; (2) remove the barriers that the entrepreneurial middle manager may face to more closely align personal and organizational initiatives and reduce the need to behave unethically; and (3) include an ethical component to corporate training which will provide guidelines for instituting compliance and values components into the state-of-the-art corporate entrepreneurship programs. (shrink)
If observation is 'theory-laden', how can there be 'observationally equivalent theories'? How can the observations 'laden' by one theory be 'the same as' those 'laden' by another? The answer might lie in the expressibility of observationally equivalent theories in a common mathematical formalism.
Modal interpretations of quantum mechanics admit two kinds of state: physical states, which specify the values of observables on a system, and theoretical states, which specify a probability distribution over possible physical states. They appear to use this distinction to deny the projection postulate, claiming that collapse corresponds only to a change from discussing the theoretical state to discussing the physical state. I argue that modal interpretations should adopt a projection postulate at the level of the theoretical state. However, other (...) features of modal interpretations might render the projection postulate immune from the usual objections. (shrink)
In 1975, 'An Essay on Knowledge Formation' by H. Törnebohm was published in this Journal. Its content in revised form was included in a work in Swedish of 1983 on knowledge development. HT defines his confirmation criterion in terms of a measure of truth degree T, which is based on a measure of matching M, which is also used as a measure of the degree to which proposition p (an hypothesis) is supported or undermined by another proposition q (the evidence (...) for p), M is defined in terms of a measure of the content C. Here it is argued that HT works with two measures C: (1) a first C, which is defined only for consistent propositions and which really is a measure of content; (2) a final C, which is an inverted measure of probability rather than a measure of content. As an extension of HT's first C, a new content measure, defined also for inconsistent propositions, is constructed. HT's measure M, which is based on his final C, is replaced by one measure of support and one of undermining. Both are based on the new content measure. (shrink)
Drawing on constructionist theory, this study examines how the media portrayed five public reporting events initiated by the Fair Labor Association (FLA), considering whether the coverage encourages or discourages companies from undertaking a reporting initiative as part of their ethical management. Media coverage was limited but generally favorable across all five events. Coverage frequently included claims made by FLA spokespersons and provided basic facts about the organization and its activities. Extensive detail about labor violations found by monitors was often included. (...) Additional media coverage centered around themes of public reporting and transparency, an assessment of the FLA’s work, brand accountability and responsibility of corporations with regard to working conditions and labor standards, and specifics about the factory monitoring and partnering with factories and NGOs that is necessary to achieve change. Counter-claims brought question to the FLA’s efforts. Explanations about why the social condition exists were fairly limited, and thus, provided little insight into how the problems might be resolved. We discuss managerial implications regarding public reporting initiatives and media coverage, particularly regarding the countering effects of positive coverage and diminishing news stories. (shrink)
There is evidence that asexual reproduction has a long-term disadvantage when compared to sexual reproduction. This disadvantage is usually assumed to arise from the more efficient incorporation of advantageous mutations by sexual populations. We consider here the effect on asexual and sexual populations of changes in the fitness of harmful mutations. It is shown that the re-establishment of equilibrium following environmental change is generally faster in sexual populations, and that the mutational load experienced by the sexual population can be significantly (...) less during this period than that experienced by an asexual one. Changes in the fitness of harmful mutations may therefore impose a greater long-term disadvantage on asexual populations than those which are sexual. (shrink)
Given W.V. Quine’s and Donald Davidson’s extensive agreement about much of the philosophy of language and mind, and the obvious methodological parallels between Quine’s radical translation and Davidson’s radical interpretation, many—including Quine and Davidson—are puzzled by their occasional disagreements. I argue for the importance of attending to these disagreements, not just because doing so deepens our understanding of these influential thinkers, but because they are in fact the shadows thrown from two distinct conceptions of philosophical inquiry: Quine’s “naturalism” and (...) what I call Davidson’s “humanism.” The clash between Quine and Davidson thus provides valuable insight into the history of analytic naturalism and its malcontents. (shrink)
Donald Davidson’s epistemology is predicated on, among other things, the rejection of Experiential Foundationalism, which he calls ‘unintelligible’. In this essay, I assess Davidson’s arguments for this conclusion. I conclude that each of them fails on the basis of reasons that foundationalists and antifoundationalists alike can, and should, accept.
Problems of Rationality is divided into three parts. The first four essays defend the claim that judgments of value are objectively true. The next six expound what Davidson called "a unified theory of thought, meaning, and action". The last four discuss the problems that weakness of will and self-deception raise for Davidson's claim that ascription of intention and belief is possible only if we assume the agent's rationality. I shall discuss the three parts in sequence.
The book is an “introductory” reconstruction of Davidson on interpretation —a claim to be taken with a grain of salt. Writing introductory books has become an idol of the tribe. This is a concise book and reflects much study. It has many virtues along with some flaws. Ramberg assembles themes and puzzles from Davidson into a more or less coherent viewpoint. A special virtue is the innovative treatment of incommensurability and of the relation of Davidson’s work to hermeneutic themes. The (...) weakness comes in a certain unevenness. While generally convincing and well written, the book has low points which may leave the reader confused or unconvinced. Davidson is the hero in this book, and our hero is sometimes over idealized. (shrink)
Tracing the background of Davidson’s work in the positivists’ philosophical emigration of the 30’s and in Quine, Evnine’s “Introduction” offers a “map of the terrain to be covered” which stresses the “rationalistic” character of Davidson’s views on holism and rationality. Thus, “his main philosophical concerns ... language, the mental and action...are the ingredients of a philosophical anthropology.” In spite of Quinean roots, the view is that “Davidson has now wholly removed himself, philosophically speaking, from the empiricist tradition.” The result: a (...) “rationalism,...a genuine, non-empiricist philosophical vision.” Though appealing to those of a “rationalist” leaning, this theme seems to generalize Davidson’s criticisms of Quine’s behaviorism as a lapse from empiricism. Often, it arises from interpretive gloss just where the tough-minded reader seeks quotation. (shrink)
Donald Davidson's theory of mind is widely regarded as a normative theory. This is a something of a confusion. Once a distinction has been made between the categorisation scheme of a norm and the norm's force-maker, it becomes clear that a Davidsonian theory of mind is not a normative theory after all. Making clear the distinction, applying it to Davidson's theory of mind, and showing its significance are the main purposes of this paper. In the concluding paragraphs, a sketch (...) is given of how a truly normative Davidsonian theory of mind might be formulated. (shrink)
Donald Davidson is unquestionably one of America's greatest living philosophers. His influence on Anglo-American philosophy over the last twenty years has been enormous, and his work is an unavoidable reference point in current debates in the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. This book offers a systematic and accessible introduction to Davidson's work. Evnine begins by discussing Davidson's contribution to the philosophy of mind, including his views on action, events and causation. He then examines Davidson's work in (...) the philosophy of language. The link between meaning and truth, radical interpretation, and semantic holism are considered in detail. The final chapters deal with the metaphysical aspects of Davidson's work and seek to assess his philosophical project as a whole. (shrink)
The work of Donald Davidson (1917-2003) transformed the study of meaning. Ernie Lepore and Kirk Ludwig, two of the world's leading authorities on Davidson's work, present the definitive study of his widely admired and influential program of truth-theoretic semantics for natural languages, giving an exposition and critical examination of its foundations and applications.
Donald Davidson has made enormous contributions to the philosophy of action, epistemology, semantics and philosophy of mind and today is recognized as one of the most important analytical philosophers of the late twentieth century. Donald Davidson: Truth, Meaning and Knowledge addresses several issues including Davidson's writings on epistemology and theory of language with their implications of ontology and philosophy of mind and his advances in the philosophy of mind in relation to the views of Williard V. Quine, John (...) McDowell and Peter F. Strawson, in essays by Roger Gibson and Anita Avarmides. (shrink)
J. E. Malpas discusses and develops the ideas of Donald Davidson, influential in contemporary thinking on the nature of understanding and meaning, and of truth and knowledge. He provides an account of Davidson's holistic and hermeneutical conception of linguistic interpretation, and, more generally, of the mind. Outlining its Quinean origins and the elements basic to Davidson's Radical Interpretation, J. E. Malpas' book goes on to elaborate this holism and to examine the indeterminacy of interpretation and the principle of charity. (...) The metaphysical and epistemological consequences of Davidson's approach are considered, particularly in relation to scepticism and relativism, the realist/anti-realist debate, and the problem of truth. Parallels are drawn between the Davidsonian emphasis on the centrality of the notion of truth and Heidegger's notion of truth as aletheia, as the book looks to structuralist, hermeneutical and phenomenological sources to illuminate Davidson's position. (shrink)
Existují filosofové, jejichž díly se lidé zabývají prostě proto, že mají pocit, že v nich najdou něco moudrého či užitečného. Existují ale i filosofové, jejichž díla jsou mnohými lidmi brána ne(jen) jako zdroj poučení, ale i jako jakási hádanka, která se dá luštit. Ze starověkých filosofů se tohoto druhu popularity dostalo například Herakleitovi, kterému bylo dokonce už tehdy přezdíváno skoteinos, temný. V našem století je příkladem filosofa takovéhoto druhu Wittgenstein: mezi těmi, kdo se prokousávají jeho spisy, je zjevně nemalá část (...) těch, kteří to dělají prostě proto, že jeho dílo vidí jako vyzývavý hlavolam, na kterém lze bystřit ostrovtip. I Donald Davidson se zdá být autorem tohoto typu - ač jeho spisy nejsou ani fragmentární, jako ty Herakleitovy, ani nejsou nesouvislými ‘pásmy’, jako spisy pozdního Wittgensteina. K tomuto faktu jistě přispívá zvláštní, podivně lapidární způsob, kterým se Davidson někdy vyjadřuje; my se však pokusíme ukázat, že hlavním důvodem je fakt, že nám věci, o kterých píše, předvádí z perspektivy, kterou pro čtenáře není snadné zaujmout. I přesto (a částečně ovšem asi naopak právě proto) se Davidson pozvolna propracovává na pozici pravděpodobně nejuznávanějšího filosofa USA (jakkoli se asi stěží někdy stane filosofem nejpopulárnějším). Ještě v roce 1980 bylo, domnívám se, pro mnohé překvapením, když se Richard Rorty na některých místech svého kontroverzního filosofického bestselleru Filosofie a zrcadlo přírody1 stylizuje do role pouze jakéhosi Davidsonova epigona. Davidson totiž na první pohled nepůsobí dojmem filosofa, který by aspiroval na místo v učebnicích dějin filosofie: na rozdíl od svých souputníků Quina, Putnama či Rortyho se zabývá relativně úzkým okruhem témat a na to, co se děje ve filosofii kolem něj, příliš nereaguje (na přímé dotazy často odpovídá ve stylu ‘já tomu moc nerozumím’). Od doby, co na něj Rorty takto spektakulárně poukázal, nicméně stoupá na vrcholky filosofického pantheonu ještě strměji než předtím. Dnes je pravděpodobně nejpříkladnějším představitelem toho, co nazývám postanalytickou filosofií: filosofie, která navazuje na to dobré, co přinesla analytická filosofie (na její střízlivou racionalitu, na její důraz na argumentování a odůvodňování, i na její snahu pečlivě ověřovat rozumnost všech těch otázek, na které se má odpovídat), a přitom neváhá opustit to z analytické tradice, co se dnes už zdá přežité či nesprávné (přemrštěný scientismus, apriorní despekt k jiným způsobům filosofického myšlení)2.. (shrink)
One of the earliest and most influential papers applying Darwinian theory to human cultural evolution was Donald T. Campbell’s paper “Variation and Selective Retention in Sociocultural Systems.” Campbell’s programmatic essay appeared as a chapter in a book entitled Social Change in Developing Areas (Barringer et al., 1965). It sketched a very ambitious project to apply Darwinian principles to the study of the evolution of human behavior. His essential theses were four.
Ernest Lepore and Kirk Ludwig present the definitive critical exposition of the philosophical system of Donald Davidson (1917-2003). Davidson's ideas had a deep and broad influence in the central areas of philosophy; he presented them in brilliant essays over four decades, but never set out explicitly the overarching scheme in which they all have their place. Lepore's and Ludwig's book will therefore be the key work, besides Davidson's own, for understanding one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth (...) century. (shrink)
I am very gratified to see Donald Davidson being translated into Japanese. That the work’s first translation should be into Japanese is particularly appropriate, since Davidson’s own first visiting professorship was at the University of Tokyo, in 1955. Very likely as a result of this connection, two of Davidson’s early works were published in Japan (Davidson 1955 and 1964); the first of these, in Japanese, has never been translated into English. Despite what I now perceive to be various inadequacies (...) with my book, nothing Davidson has produced since its publication has led me to believe that I was substantially mistaken about any of my interpretations. However, Davidson’s thought has continued to evolve and consequently the book is now incomplete. I try, in this preface, to make good on this incompleteness in two ways. First, I explain a new argument which has come to play a prominent part in Davidson’s recent work. Secondly, I enter in some detail into a continuing controversy over supervenience and the causal efficacy of the mental, since Davidson has advanced the issue with a new paper on the topic. A thorough up- dating of the book would also call for an examination of a few other issues, for instance, the way in which Davidson has developed what I called ‘the disappearance of mind’ (Donald Davidson, 8.3; see Davidson 1988 and 1989) and his further pronouncements on the subject of truth (1990c). (shrink)
Aside from his remarkable studies in psychology and the social sciences, Donald Thomas Campbell (1916–1996) made significant contributions to philosophy, particularly philosophy of science,epistemology, and ethics. His name and his work are inseparably linked with the evolutionary approach to explaining human knowledge (evolutionary epistemology). He was an indefatigable supporter of the naturalistic turn in philosophy and has strongly influenced the discussion of moral issues (evolutionary ethics). The aim of this paper is to briefly characterize Campbells work and to discuss (...) its philosophical implications. In particular, I show its relevance to some current debates in the intersection of biology and philosophy. In fact, philosophy of biology would look poorer without Campbells influence. The present paper is not a hagiography but an attempt to evaluate and critically discuss the meaning of Campbells work for philosophy of biology and to encourage scholars working in this field to read and re-read this work which is both challenging and inspiring. (shrink)
Thanks to their heterogeneity, the nine essays in this volume offer a clear testimony of Donald Davidson's authority, and they undoubtedly show how much his work - even if it has raised many doubts and criticisms - has been, and still is, highly influential and significant in contemporary analytical philosophy for a wide range of subjects. Moreover, the various articles not only critically and carefully analyse Davidson's theses and arguments (in particular those concerning language and knowledge), but they also (...) illustrate how such theories and ideas, despite their unavoidable difficulties, are still alive and potentially fruitful. Davidson's work is indeed an important and provocative starting point for discussing the future progress of philosophy. (shrink)
Davidson, Donald (Herbert) (b. 1917, d. 2003; American), Willis S. and Marion Slusser Professor, University of California at Berkeley (1986–2003). Previously Instructor then Professor in Philosophy at: Queens College New York (1947–1950), Stanford University, California (1950–1967), Princeton University (1967–1969), Rockefeller University, New York City (1970–1976), University of Chicago (1976–1981), University of California at Berkeley (1981–2003). John Locke Lecturer, University of Oxford (1970).
This article is a brief commentary on Donald Turner and Ford Turrell’s “The Non-Existent God: Transcendence, Humanity, and Ethics in Emmanuel Levinas.” While I agree with Turner and Turrell’s general presentation of Levinas’s existential conception of God and ethics, I reflect primarily on the reference the authors make to Kierkegaard as an existentialist forefather of Levinas. I show certain basic similarities between Levinas and Kierkegaard as existentialist thinkers, but also note their differences, also taking into consideration the influence of (...) Hegel. This paper was delivered in the APA Pacific 2007 Mini-Conference on Models of God. (shrink)
Donald Davidson has been one of the most influential figures on modern analytic philosophy and has made seminal contributions in a wide range of subjects: philosophy of language, philosophy of action, philosophy of mind, epistemology, metaphysics and the theory of rationality. His principal work, embodied in a series of landmark essays stretching over nearly 40 years, exhibits a unity rare among philosophers contributing on so many diverse fronts. Written by a distinguished roster of philosophers, this volume includes chapters on (...) truth and meaning, the philosophy of action, radical interpretation, philosophical psychology, knowledge of the external world, other minds and our own minds, and the implications of Davidson's work for literary theory. This is the only comprehensive introduction to the full range of Davidson's work, and as such it will be of particular value to advanced undergraduates, graduates and professionals in philosophy, psychology, linguistics, and literary theory. (shrink)
Delivered only months before his death, the Gifford Lectures allowed Donald MacKay to clarify and to emphasize his views on many important issues. MacKay stressed the primacy of personal experience and the differences between persons, brains, and machines. These positions are reviewed here, as are some of the reasons why MacKay may remain relatively unknown among American psychologists, philosophers, and neuroscientists.
The essays in this volume constitute the proceedings of a conference on the work of Ddonald MacKinnon, this century's most influential British theologian. MacKinnon's work ranges from Aristotelean metaphysics to trinitarian reflection to Marxism. Surin's contributors start with MacKinnon's writings and move on to discuss such topics as his relation to Barth's theology, the controversy betwen realism and idealism, Trinity and ontology, incarnation and kenosis, the problem of evil, and MacKinnon's ethical reflections.
The present paper proposes a critical revision of the massive truth notion, in the context of Donald Davidson’s criticism to skepticism. It´s distinguished in Davidson’s work a cuantitative sense and a cualitative sense of the massive truth, asserting that the first one has been more frequently used and has had just an intuitive level of elucidation. The main problems associated to the cuantitative notion of massive truth are revised in relation to the quantification of beliefs, the detection of error (...) on a background of truth and the application of the Davidsonian methodology to non perceptual beliefs. Over this revision it is proposed the substitution of the cuantitative notion of massive truth for a cualitative notion, and are analized its advantages over eventual skeptical objections. (shrink)
Thomas Elsaesser claims the late Haneke as a director of ‘mind-game’ films, but his diagnosis of the appeal of such films fails to account for The White Ribbon . In this paper, I draw on the theory of radical interpretation developed by American philosopher Donald Davidson to uncover the film’s power. I argue that the focus on charity in Davidson’s account of the conditions under which an interpreter is able to find a foreign community intelligible illuminates the exquisite discomfort (...) the spectator experiences as she begins to understand the disturbed community that the film portrays. In addition, the film exposes that Davidson’s transcendental argument that language is a condition of mindedness ought to be extended along emotional and moral dimensions. We should not only hold that every rational mind is a language-user, but that every rational mind is an appropriate language-user, so as to account for minds that have true, justified beliefs but which are, nevertheless, disturbed. (shrink)
Donald Davidson foi um dos filósofos mais influentes da tradição analítica da segunda metade do século. A unidade de sua obra é constituída pelo papel central que reflexão sobre como podemos interpretar os proferimentos de um outro falante desempenha para a compreensão da natureza do significado. Davidson adota o ponto de vista metodológico de um intérprete que não pode pressupor nada sobre o significado das palavras de um falante e que não possui nenhum conhecimento detalhado de suas atitudes proposicionais. (...) Neste artigo, eu apresento inicialmente a estrutura e os pressupostos da filosofia da linguagem de Davidson; passo depois a uma discussão sobre a importância do princípio de caridade para seu projeto interpretativo e, por fim, procuro apontar as diferenças do projeto de Davidson com a hermenêutica filosófica. PALAVRAS-CHAVE – Interpretação radical. Princípio de caridade. Hermenêutica. ABSTRACT Donald Davidson was one of the most influential philosophers in the analytic tradition in the last half of the twenthy century. The unity of his work lies in the central role that the reflection on how we are able to interpret the speech of another plays in undestanding the nature of meaning. Davidson adopts the standpoint of the interpreter of the speech of another whose evidence does not, at the outset, pressupose anything about what the speaker’s words mean or any datailed knowledge of his propositional attitudes. This is the position of the radical interpreter. In this paper, I begin with an account of the assumptions and structure of Davidson’s philosophy of language; after this I discuss the philosophical importance of the principle of charity for the theory of radical interpretation and, at the end, I compare Davidson’s interpretative project to the philosophical hermeneutic. KEY WORDS – Radical interpretation. Principle of charity. Hermeneutics. (shrink)
Donald Davidson was one of the 20th Century's deepest analytic thinkers. He developed a systematic picture of the human mind and its relation to the world, an original and sustained vision that exerted a shaping influence well beyond analytic philosophy of mind and language. At its center is an idea of minded creatures as essentially rational animals: Rational animals can be interpreted, their behavior can be understood, and the contents of their thoughts are, in principle, open to others. The (...) combination of a rigorous analytic stance with aspects of humanism so distinctive of Davidsonian thought finds its maybe most characteristic expression when this central idea is brought to bear on the relation of the mental to the physical: Davidson defended the irreducibility of its rational nature while acknowledging that the mental is ultimately determined by the physical. -/- Davidson made contributions of lasting importance to a wide range of topics -- from general theory of meaning and content over formal semantics, the theories of truth, explanation, and action, to metaphysics and epistemology. His writings almost entirely consist of short, elegant, and often witty papers. These dense and thematically tightly interwoven essays present a profound challenge to the reader. -/- This book provides a concise, systematic introduction to all the main elements of Davidson's philosophy. It places the theory of meaning and content at the very center of his thought. By using interpretation, and the interpreter, as key ideas it clearly brings out the underlying structure and unified nature of Davidson's work. Kathrin Gluer carefully outlines his principal claims and arguments, and discusses them in some detail. The book thus makes Davidson's thought accessible in its genuine depth, and acquaints the reader with the main lines of discussion surrounding it. (shrink)
Donald Michie was an extraordinary character. In a scientific career that spanned nearly 65 years, he was the pioneer in several fields including computing, mouse embryology, transplantation biology, and machine intelligence. Tragically, he died in a car crash in 2007. -/- Here, Ashwin Srinivasan presents a varied collection of Michie's writings, from Colossus and computers to mouse genetics and politics. Srinivasan, a computer scientist and grand-student of Donald Michie, introduces each section and brings together an engaging collection of (...) lively essays, revealing Michie's remarkable personality and painting a picture of his life and interests. (shrink)
One of the chief aims of Donald Davidson's later work was to show that participation in a certain causal nexus involving two creatures and a shared environment–Davidson calls this nexus “triangulation”–is a metaphysically necessary condition for the acquisition of thought. This doctrine, I suggest, is aptly regarded as a form of what I call transcendental externalism. I extract two arguments for the transcendental-externalist doctrine from Davidson's writings, and argue that neither succeeds. A central interpretive claim is that the arguments (...) are primarily funded by a particular conception of the nature of non-human animal life. This conception turns out to be insupportable. The failure of Davidson's arguments presses the question of whether we could ever hope to arrive at far-reaching claims about the conditions for thought if we deny, as does Davidson, the legitimacy of the naturalistic project in the philosophy of mind. (shrink)
Richard Rorty has argued that Donald Davidson can be classified as a neopragmatist. To this end, Rorty has tried to show that Davidson's views share important similarities with those of Peirce, James, and Dewey. Davidson, for his part, has tended to resist Rorty's attempts to classify his views in this way. Interestingly, the reasons for Rorty's classification and the reasons for Davidson's resistance share a common trait: an appeal to the elimination of the dualism of conceptual scheme and experiential (...) content on the basis of an assumed background of shared beliefs. According to Rorty, Davidson's background of shared beliefs is closely related to the notion of funded experience found in those thinkers often .. (shrink)
In this companion to ‘Charity, Interpretation, and Belief’, McGinn broadens his attack on Davidson's principle of charity, arguing that charity is no more required for the ascription of notional beliefs (i.e. shared concepts) than it is for the ascription of relational beliefs. His argument takes the form of a reductio: if Davidson were right that about the inherently charitable nature of interpretation, then, McGinn argues, traditional sceptical worries (e.g. concerning the external world, other minds) would not even arise. But that (...) is absurd. In the concluding section, McGinn presents his preferred (Quinean) method of interpretation, according to which the ascription of beliefs and meanings proceeds only after the attribution of perceptual experiences. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue against Davidson's (1986) view that our ability to understand malapropisms forces us to re-think the standard construal of literal word meaning as conventional meaning. Specially, I contend that the standard construal is not only intuitive but also well-motivated, for appeal to conventional meaning is necessary to understand why speakers utter the particular words they do. I also contend that, contra Davidson, we can preserve the intuitive distinction between what a speaker means and what his words (...) mean, even while retaining the standard construal of literal word meaning as conventional. (shrink)
Anomalous Monism is a type of property dualism in the philosophy of mind. Property dualism combines the thesis that mental phenomena are strictly irreducible to physical phenomena with the denial that mind and body are discrete substances. For the anomalous monist, the plausibility of property dualism derives from the fact that although mental states, events and processes have genuine causal powers, the causal relationships that they enter into with physical entities cannot be explained by appeal to fundamental laws of nature. (...) This doctrine about the relationship between mind and body was first explicitly defended by Donald Davidson in his paper “Mental Events,” though its root in the Western philosophical tradition go back at least as far as Spinoza. It was a topic of energetic debate and disagreement among English-speaking philosophers for the last thirty years of the twentieth century. (shrink)
Donald Davidson used triangulation to do everything from explicate psychological and semantic externalism, to attack relativism and skepticism, to propose conditions necessary for thought and talk. At one point Davidson tried to bring order to these remarks by identifying three kinds of triangulation, each operative in a different situation. Here I take seriously Davidson’s talk of triangular situations and extend it. I start by describing Davidson’s situations. Next I establish the surprising result that considerations from one situation entail the (...) possibility that at any one time one language is partially untranslatable into another. Because the possibility is time-indexed, it need not conflict with Davidson’s own argument against the possibility of untranslatability. I derive the result, not to indict Davidson, but to propose a new kind of triangulation, the reconciliation of untranslatability, which I investigate. Insofar as triangulation is central to Davidson’s views, getting a handle on his various triangular situations is key to getting a handle on his contributions to philosophy. Insofar as those contributions have enriched our understanding of how language, thought, and reality interrelate, extending Davidson’s model promises to extend our understanding too. (shrink)
In this paper I outline Donald Davidson’s account of two forms of irrationality, akrasia and self-deception, and relate this account to ethical action and belief. His view of irrationality is generally a Freudian one, to the effect that agents must compartmentalize both offending particular mental contents, and governing second order principles. Davidson also hints that his account of akrasia and self-deception might show certain normative and meta-ethical theories to be irrational, insofar as they too engender irrationality. I explore these (...) hints, and hopefully show both that Davidson is correct about irrationality and correct that certain ethical theories (e.g. Kantian deontology and certain forms of moral realism) engender irrationality as well. I believe this to be no great loss to ethics generally, but will hopefully aid our understanding of how ethical action and belief actually happen. (shrink)
Language, Truth, and History is an excellent volume of essays coming from one of the most important philosophers in the last fifty years. It would be of interest to anyone interested in the ways Davidson's philosophy evolved after the publication of the first two volumes, and it is essential reading for anyone working in philosophy of language or philosophy of mind.
Donald Davidsons classic argument for the impossibility of reducing mental events to physicallistic ones is analyzed and formalized in relational logic. This makes evident the scope of Davidsons argument, and shows that he is essentially offering a negative transcendental argument, i.e., and argument to the impossibility of certain kinds of logical relations. Some final speculations are offered as to why such a move might, nevertheless, have a measure of plausibility.
Formulating my comments I have had difficulties of three kinds. First, I am not at all sure that I have understood Davidson correctly at every point. Secondly, not being aware of how far I may take for granted that Davidson and I share what may be called the same background ...