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Summary Anomalous Monism is a philosophical theory about the mind-body relationship, developed by Donald Davidson. The theory has two components. One is the claim that the domain of mental events is anomalous, meaning that mentalistic descriptions of events, unlike physicalistic ones, are not subsumable under strict, exceptionless laws. The other claim is that, nevertheless, mental events are identical to physical events. The resulting view is a form of predicate dualism combined with event monism, therefore, at least according to Davidson, a form of nonreductive physicalism, as it rejects the viability of type-type reductions, but asserts a monistic (physical) ontology. Davidson's argument for the view is that it resolves the apparent incompatibility of three plausible seeming claim: (1) the fact that there are both mental-to-physical causal relations and physical-to-mental ones, (2) the anomalousness of the mental, and (3) the nomological character of causality (i.e. that causal relations involve strict laws). Under mentalistic descriptions, mental events are anomalous, but under physicalistic ones, they are not; hence propositions (1) to (3) are no really incompatible, if Anomalous Monism is adopted. The main criticism levelled against the view is that it is not really physicalistic, in that it is in fact a form of aspect- or property-dualism. Another popular criticism asserts that Davidson's view actually renders mental events causally impotent, as causation is a relation among properties or aspects of events rather among events understood as primitive particulars.
Key works The theory is first formulated in Davidson 1970, reprinted in his Davidson 1970. Kim has dedicated several works to criticising the view along the lines explained above, for example in Kim 1989, Kim 1993, and Kim 1993. Davidson offers an answer to these worries in Davidson 1992. The literature on Anomalous Monism is considerable; collections of key papers are Lepore & McLaughlin 1985 and Heil & Mele 1993.
Introductions Gl¨uer 2011, Lepore & Ludwig 2013
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  1. Anomalous Monism.Neil Campbell -
    identity theory , usually attributed to J.J.C. Smart (Smart, 1959) and U.T. Place (Place, 1956), claimed that kinds of mental states are identical to kinds of brain states. Sensations of pain, for instance, were said to be identical to the firing of C-fibres or some such type of neurological state. According to this view, then, pain, conceived as a _kind_ of mental state, is said to be _reduced_ to a certain kind of neurological state. The reduction envisaged here was modelled (...)
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  2. Anomalous Dualism: A New Approach to the Mind-Body Problem.David Bourget - 2019 - In William Seager (ed.), The Handbook of Panpsychism. Routledge.
    In this paper, I explore anomalous dualism about consciousness, a view that has not previously been explored in any detail. We can classify theories of consciousness along two dimensions: first, a theory might be physicalist or dualist; second, a theory might endorse any of the three following views regarding causal relations between phenomenal properties (properties that characterize states of our consciousness) and physical properties: nomism (the two kinds of property interact through deterministic laws), acausalism (they do not causally interact), and (...)
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  3. Projecting the Trees but Ignoring the Forest: A Brief Critique of Alfredo Pereira Jr.'s Target Essay.Gregory Michael Nixon - 2018 - Trans/Form/Ação 41 (s1):269-292.
    Pereira’s “The Projective Theory of Consciousness” is an experimental statement, drawing on many diverse sources, exploring how consciousness might be produced by a projective mechanism that results both in private selves and an experienced world. Unfortunately, pulling together so many unrelated sources and methods means none gets full attention. Furthermore, it seems to me that the uncomfortable breadth of this paper unnecessarily complicates his project; in fact it may hide what it seeks to reveal. If this conglomeration of diverse sources (...)
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  4. Review of Physical Realization by Shoemaker (2009).Michael Starks - 2017 - Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization Michael Starks 3rd Ed. (2017).
    Over 40 years ago I read a small grey book with metaphysics in the title which began with the words “Metaphysics is dead. Wittgenstein has killed it.” I am one of many who agree but sadly the rest of the world has not gotten the message. Shoemaker’s work is nonsense on stilts but is unusual only in that it never deviates into sense from the first paragraph to the last. At least with Dennett, Carruthers, Churchland etc one gets a breath (...)
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  5. Donald Davidson su metafora e monismo anomalo.Alessandro Cavazzana - 2016 - In Gabriella Airenti, Marco Cruciani & Maurizio Tirassa (eds.), Mind the Gap: Brain, Cognition and Society. Torino TO, Italia: pp. 117-123.
    The aim of this paper is to match anomalous monism with some of Donald Davidson's theories about metaphorical meaning. In particular, I will use anomalous monism to justify Davidson's scepticism toward the paraphrase and to suggest an insight of the metaphor from the speaker's side, in contrast with the whole Davidson's theory of meaning, formulated – as is well known – from the interpreter's side.
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  6. Different Approaches for the Detection of SSH Anomalous Connections.S. González, Á Herrero, J. Sedano, Urko Zurutuza & E. Corchado - 2016 - Logic Journal of the IGPL 24 (1).
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  7. What is the Pairing Glue in the Cuprates? Insights From Normal and Anomalous Propagators.T. Bzdušek & R. Hlubina - 2015 - Philosophical Magazine 95 (5-6):609-621.
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  8. Dielectric Anomalous Response of Water at 60 °C.Juan C. del Valle, Enrique Camarillo, Laura Martinez Maestro, Julio A. Gonzalo, Carmen Aragó, Manuel Marqués, Daniel Jaque, Ginés Lifante, José García Solé, Karla Santacruz-Gómez, Roberto C. Carrillo-Torres & Francisco Jaque - 2015 - Philosophical Magazine 95 (7):683-690.
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  9. Anomalous Mechanical Characteristics of Au/Cu Nanocomposite Processed by Cu Electroplating.Masataka Hakamada, Motohiro Yuasa & Mamoru Mabuchi - 2015 - Philosophical Magazine 95 (14):1499-1510.
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  10. Quantitative Understanding of Anomalous Slip in Mo.J. B. Yang, Z. J. Zhang & Z. F. Zhang - 2015 - Philosophical Magazine 95 (19):2026-2045.
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  11. Monismo anômalo: uma reconstrução e revisão da literatura.Marcelo Fischborn - 2014 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 18 (1):53-66.
    Este artigo reconstrói os argumentos de Donald Davidson (1970) em favor de sua teoria do monismo anômalo e revisa as principais críticas que recebeu. Essa teoria é amplamente rejeitada atualmente e, dadas as inúmeras críticas recebidas, é razoável concluir que qualquer tentativa de reabilitação tem um longo caminho pela frente. A diversidade dessas críticas sugere que não há consenso sobre por que exatamente o monismo anômalo fracassa, embora as dificuldades pareçam convergir sobre a justificação e possibilidade da tese monista, e (...)
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  12. On the Distinction Between Law Schemata and Causal Laws.Jens Harbecke - 2013 - Acta Analytica 28 (4):423-434.
    The paper argues against the widely accepted assumption that the causal laws of (completed) physics, in contrast to those of the special sciences, are essentially strict. This claim played an important role already in debates about the anomalousness of the mental, and it currently experiences a renaissance in various discussions about mental causation, projectability of special science laws, and the nature of physical laws. By illustrating the distinction with some paradigmatic physical laws, the paper demonstrates that only law schemata are (...)
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  13. Pleading Ignorance in Response to Experiential Primitivism.Raamy Majeed - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (1):251-269.
    Modal arguments like the Knowledge Argument, the Conceivability Argument and the Inverted Spectrum Argument could be used to argue for experiential primitivism; the view that experiential truths aren’t entailed from nonexperiential truths. A way to resist these arguments is to follow Stoljar (Ignorance and imagination. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2006) and plead ignorance of a type of experience-relevant nonexperiential truth. If we are ignorant of such a truth, we can’t imagine or conceive of the various sorts of scenarios that are (...)
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  14. What is Russellian Monism?Torin Alter & Yujin Nagasawa - 2012 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (9-10):67–95.
    Russellian monism offers a distinctive perspective on the relationship between the physical and the phenomenal. For example, on one version of the view, phenomenal properties are the categorical bases of fundamental physical properties, such as mass and charge, which are dispositional. Russellian monism has prominent supporters, such as Bertrand Russell, Grover Maxwell, Michael Lockwood, and David Chalmers. But its strengths and shortcomings are often misunderstood. In this paper we try to eliminate confusions about the view and defend it from criticisms. (...)
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  15. Causation.Lorenzo Casini - 2012 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 27 (2):203-219.
    How many notions of cause are there? The causality literature is witnessing a flourishing of pluralist positions. Here I focus on a recent debate on whether interpreting causality in terms of inferential relations commits one to semantic pluralism (Reiss 2011) or not (Williamson 2006). I argue that inferentialism is compatible with a ‘weak’ form of monism, where causality is envisaged as one, vague cluster concept. I offer two arguments for this, one for vagueness, one for uniqueness. Finally, I qualify in (...)
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  16. Anomalous Monism and Radical Interpretation: A Reply to Dwayne Moore.Manuel de Pinedo - 2012 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):99-108.
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  17. Davidson, Dualism, and Truth.Nathaniel Goldberg - 2012 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 1 (7).
    Happy accidents happen even in philosophy. Sometimes our arguments yield insights despite missing their target, though when they do others can often spot it more easily. Consider the work of Donald Davidson. Few did more to explore connections among mind, language, and world. Now that we have critical distance from his views, however, we can see that Davidson’s accomplishments are not quite what they seem. First, while Davidson attacked the dualism of conceptual scheme and empirical content, he in fact illustrated (...)
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  18. La normatividad de lo mental y el rol de la segunda persona. Tras las huellas de Donald Davidson.Karina Pedace - 2012 - Areté. Revista de Filosofía 24 (1):109-152.
    “The Normativity of the Mental and the Role of the Second Person’s Standpoint. On Davidson’s Footsteps”. I offer in this paper an elucidation of the normativity of the mental in terms of the second person’s standpoint, with the hope of opening a conceptual horizon that will allow us to go beyond Donald Davidson. Aiming at this, the paper is structured as follows. In the first part I present Davidson’s original response to the mind/body problem and reconstruct his argument in favour (...)
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  19. Monismo anômalo, fisicalismo, causalidade mental.Andrea Schimmenti - 2012 - Philósophos - Revista de Filosofia 17 (2):43-75.
    This paper focuses some aspects of a debate which took place between Donald Davidson and Jaegwon Kim, about the problem of causal efficacy of mental properties in the physical world. The most famous expression of davidsoniannon reductive physicalism, the argument of Anomalous Monism, was criticized by Kim, because it tries to harmonize two allegations that can´t coexist in a physicalist thesis, and have to be considered as incompatible from a physicalistpoint of view. The first of these allegations is theAnomaly of (...)
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  20. The Riddles of Monism: An Introductory Essay.Todd H. Weir - 2012 - In Monism: Science, Philosophy, Religion, and the History of a Worldview. Palgrave-Macmillan.
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  21. Davidson's Argument for Anomalous Monism.Amir Horowitz - 2011 - In Michael Bruce & Steven Barbone (eds.), Just the Arguments: 100 of the Most Important Arguments in Western Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell.
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  22. Productive Disorientations: The Anomalous Volume 7 of Tristram Shandy.Dawn Morgan - 2011 - Lumen: Selected Proceedings From the Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies 30:61.
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  23. The Epiphenomenalism Charge as an External Objection to Anomalous Monism.Katarzyna Paprzycka - 2011 - Filozofia Nauki 19 (2):135.
  24. Zarzut epifenomenalizmu jako zarzut zewnętrzny względem monizmu anomalnego.Katarzyna Paprzycka - 2011 - Filozofia Nauki 19 (2):74.
    The paper is a critical reaction to M. Grygianiec’s discussion of the status of the epiphenomenalism objection to anomalous monism. Grygianiec argues that the objection does not arise for Davidson if one takes his nominalism seriously. I show that Grygianiec construes the epiphenomenalism charge as an internal one. I argue that it can be viewed as an external objection to anomalous monism, moreover one that is justified, adequate and charitable. I distinguish two interpretations of the objection and show that an (...)
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  25. Does There Exist an Anomalous Sound Dispersion in Supercooled Water?A. Taschin, R. Cucini, P. Bartolini & R. Torre - 2011 - Philosophical Magazine 91 (13-15):1796-1800.
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  26. A Phenomenological Reading of Anomalous Monism.Andrea Zhok - 2011 - Husserl Studies 27 (3):227-256.
    The essay discusses Donald Davidson’s concept of anomalous monism in the framework of Husserlian phenomenology. It develops in four stages. Section 1 is devoted to a critical presentation of the argument for anomalous monism. Section 2 succinctly examines those Husserlian notions that best provide the ground for a discussion parallel to Davidson’s. In Sect. 3, the aporetic status of “mental causation” is analyzed by providing a genetic-phenomenological account of efficient causation. Section 4 draws some general conclusions concerning the kind of (...)
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  27. Token Monism, Event Dualism and Overdetermination.Hagit Benbaji - 2010 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (1):pp. 63-81.
    The argument from causal overdetermination is considered to be the shortest route to token monism. It only assumes that:1.Efficacy: Mental events are causes of physical events.2.Closure: Every physical event has a sufficient physical cause.3.Exclusion: Systematic Causal Overdetermination is impossible: if an event x is a sufficient cause of an event y then no event x* distinct from x is a cause of y.4.Identity: Therefore, mental events are physical events.Exclusion does not deny the possibility of two gunmen that fi re at (...)
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  28. Rabbinic Philosophy of Language: Not in Heaven.Gabriel Levy - 2010 - Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 18 (2):167-202.
    I argue that “sampling” is at the heart of rabbinical hermeneutics. I argue further that anomalous monism—and specifically its arguments about token identity, of which sampling is one species—provides some insight into understanding the nature of rabbinical hermeneutics and religion, where truth is contingent on social judgment but is nevertheless objective. These points are illustrated through a close reading of the story of the oven of Aknai in the Bavli's Baba Metzia. I claim that rabbinic Judaism represents an early attempt (...)
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  29. Anomalous Cognition.Amir Haz - 2009 - In Kendrick Frazier (ed.), Science Under Siege: Defending Science, Exposing Pseudoscience. Prometheus. pp. 268.
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  30. Finding a Better K: A Psychophysical Investigation of Clustering.Joshua M. Lewis - 2009 - In N. A. Taatgen & H. van Rijn (eds.), Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. pp. 315--320.
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  31. Relation Between Mental and Physical in D. Davidson.Michal Polak - 2009 - Filosoficky Casopis 57:19-37.
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  32. Anomalous Monism.Julie Yoo - 2009 - In Brian McLaughlin, Ansgar Beckermann & Sven Walter (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind. Oxford University Press.
    This is an overview of Davidson's theory of anomalous monism. Objections and replies are also detailed.
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  33. Social Determinants of Thought: Neither Anomalism nor Funcionalization.Josep Maria Bech - 2008 - Convivium: revista de filosofía 21:175-196.
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  34. Quine's Physicalism.H. G. Callaway & Paul Gochet - 2007 - In Filosofia, Scienza e Bioetica nel dibattito contemperano, Studi internazionali in onore di Evandro Agazzi, pp. 1105-1115.
    In this paper we briefly examine and evaluate Quine’s physicalism. On the supposition, in accordance with Quine’s views, that there can be no change of any sort without a physical change, we argue that this point leaves plenty of room to understand and accept a limited autonomy of the special sciences and of other domains of disciplinary and common-sense inquiry and discourse. The argument depends on distinguishing specific, detailed programs of reduction from the general Quinean strategy of reduction by explication. (...)
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  35. Causation and Mental Causation.Jaegwon Kim - 2007 - In Brian P. McLaughlin & Jonathan D. Cohen (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell. pp. 227--242.
  36. Indeterminação Do Mental No Monismo Anômalo E Particularismo Na Agência.André Klaudat - 2007 - Philósophos - Revista de Filosofia 12 (2).
    Anomalous Monism is characterized by two major theses: (1) that the mental is indeterminate (anomalous) and (2) that rationalizations are causal explanations, more specifically though, of a sort that depends on the identification of mental particulars – events – which possess causal efficacy. This paper criticizes the thesis of the indetermination in a limited way, only in so far as it is based on the conception of rationalizations connected with a specific metaphysics of action: particularism. I try to show that (...)
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  37. Anomalous Monism: Oscillating Between Dogmas.M. De Pinedo - 2006 - Synthese 148 (1):79-97.
    Davidson’s anomalous monism, his argument for the identity between mental and physical event tokens, has been frequently attacked, usually demanding a higher degree of physicalist commitment. My objection runs in the opposite direction: the identities inferred by Davidson from mental causation, the nomological character of causality and the anomaly of the mental are philosophically problematic and, more dramatically, incompatible with his famous argument against the third dogma of empiricism, the separation of content from conceptual scheme. Given the anomaly of the (...)
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  38. Why Davidson is Not a Property Epiphenomenalist.Sophie Gibb - 2006 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 14 (3):407 – 422.
    Despite the fact that Davidson's theory of the causal relata is crucial to his response to the problem of mental causation - that of anomalous monism - it is commonly overlooked within discussions of his position. Anomalous monism is accused of entailing property epiphenomenalism, but given Davidson's understanding of the causal relata, such accusations are wholly misguided. There are, I suggest, two different forms of property epiphenomenalism. The first understands the term 'property' in an ontological sense, the second in a (...)
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  39. Anomalous Monism: Oscillating Between Dogmas.M. De Pinedo - 2006 - Synthese 148 (1):79 - 97.
    Davidson's anomalous monism, his argument for the identity between mental and physical event tokens, has been frequently attacked, usually demanding a higher degree of physicalist commitment. My objection runs in the opposite direction: the identities inferred by Davidson from mental causation, the nomological character of causality and the anomaly of the mental are philosophically problematic and, more dramatically, incompatible with his famous argument against the third dogma of empiricism, the separation of content from conceptual scheme. Given the anomaly of the (...)
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  40. Daydreams and Anarchy: A Defense of Anomalous Mental Causation.Nick Zangwill - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (2):253-289.
    Must mental properties figure in psychological causal laws if they are causally efficacious? And do those psychological causal laws give the essence of mental properties? Contrary to the prevailing consensus, I argue that, on the usual conception of laws that is in play in these debates, there are in fact lawless causally efficacious properties both in and out of the philosophy of mind. I argue that this makes a great difference to the philosophical relevance of empirical psychology. I begin by (...)
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  41. Daniel Dennett. Reconciling Science and Our Self-Conception. By Matthew. [REVIEW]David Bain - 2005 - Philosophical Quarterly 55 (219):369-371.
    Over 35 years, Daniel Dennett has articulated a rich and expansive philosophical outlook. There have been elaborations, refinements, and changes of mind, exposi- tory and substantive. This makes him hard to pin down. Does he, for example, think intentional states are real? In places, he sounds distinctly instrumentalist; elsewhere, he avows realism, ‘sort of’. What is needed is a map, charting developments and tracing dialectical threads through his extensive writings and the different regions of his thought. This is what Matthew (...)
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  42. Whitehead’s Ontology and Davidson’s Anomalous Monism.Pierfrancesco Basile - 2005 - Process Studies 34 (1):3-9.
  43. The Nomological Principle and the Argument for Anomalous Monism.Hagit Benbaji - 2005 - Iyyun 54 (January):90-108.
  44. Idealism and the Philosophy of Mind.Giuseppina D'Oro - 2005 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 48 (5):395-412.
    This paper defends an idealist form of non-reductivism in the philosophy of mind. I refer to it as a kind of conceptual dualism without substance dualism. I contrast this idealist alternative with the two most widespread forms of non-reductivism: multiple realisability functionalism and anomalous monism. I argue first, that functionalism fails to challenge seriously the claim for methodological unity since it is quite comfortable with the idea that it is possible to articulate a descriptive theory of the mind. Second, that (...)
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  45. Davidson on the Impossibility of Psychophysical Laws.Gary L. Herstein - 2005 - Synthese 145 (1):45-63.
    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.
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  46. Mind and Anomalous Monism.Mark Silcox - 2005 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    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. (...)
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  47. The Philosophical Significance of Triangulation: Locating Davidson's Non-Reductive Naturalism.Robert Sinclair - 2005 - Metaphilosophy 36 (5):708-728.
  48. Anomalous Monism.Steven Yalowitz - 2005 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  49. Psychophysical Evidence.Raul Kompass - 2004 - In Christian Kaernbach, Erich Schroger & Hermann Müller (eds.), Psychophysics Beyond Sensation: Laws and Invariants of Human Cognition. Psychology Press. pp. 451.
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  50. Anomalous Monism in Carnap's Aufbau.Mehdi Nasrin - 2004 - Erkenntnis 60 (3):283-293.
    The Logical Reconstruction of the World (Aufbau) is oneof the major works of Rudolf Carnap in which he attempts to put an end to some of the traditional disputes in epistemology by using what he calls 'construction theory'. According to this theory, one or more constructional systems can be designed in which all the scientific and pre-scientific objects are logically made out of a limited number of basic elements. Carnap introduces some options for the basis of this system and chooses (...)
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