About this topic
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 1980. 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 Secondary Thickening Inosteospermum.R. S. Adamson - 1937 - Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa 24 (4):303-312.
  2. What is Russellian Monism?Torin Alter & Yujin Nagasawa - 2012 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (9-10):9-10.
    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. (...)
  3. Anomalous Monism and the Problem of Explanatory Force.Louise Antony - 1989 - Philosophical Review 98 (April):153-87.
    Concern about two problems runs through the work of davidson: the problem of accounting for the "explanatory force" of rational explanations, and the problem posed for materialism by the apparent anomalousness of psychological events. davidson believes that his view of mental causation, imbedded in his theory of "anomalous monism," can provide satisfactory answers to both questions. however, it is argued in this paper that davidson's program contains a fundamental inconsistency; that his metaphysics, while grounding the doctrine of anomalous monism, makes (...)
  4. The Inadequacy of Anomalous Monism as a Realist Theory of Mind.Louise M. Antony - 1994 - In Gerhard Preyer, F. Siebelt & A. Ulfig (eds.), Language, Mind, and Epistemology: On Donald Davidson's Philosophy. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  5. Davidson's Argument for Monism.Michael V. Antony - 2003 - Synthese 135 (1):1-12.
    Two criticisms of Davidson's argument for monism are presented. The first is that there is no obvious way for the anomalism of the mental to do any work in his argument. Certain implicit premises, on the other hand, entail monism independently of the anomalism of the mental, but they are question-begging. The second criticism is that even if Davidson's argument is sound, the variety of monism that emerges is extremely weak at best. I show that by constructing ontologically ``hybrid'' events (...)
  6. 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 (...)
  7. Whitehead's Ontology and Davidson's Anomalous Monism.Pierfrancesco Basile - 2005 - Process Studies 34 (1):3-9.
  8. Token Monism, Event Dualism and Overdetermination.Hagit Benbaji - 2010 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (1):pp. 63-81.
  9. The Nomological Principle and the Argument for Anomalous Monism.Hagit Benbaji - 2005 - Iyyun 54 (January):90-108.
  10. Mental Anomaly and the New Mind-Brain Reductionism.John Bickle - 1992 - Philosophy of Science 59 (2):217-30.
    Davidson's principle of the anomalousness of the mental was instrumental in discrediting once-popular versions of mind-brain reductionism. In this essay I argue that a novel account of intertheoretic reduction, which does not require the sort of cross-theoretic bridge laws that Davidson's principle rules out, allows a version of mind-brain reductionism which is immune from Davidson's challenge. In the final section, I address a second worry about reductionism, also based on Davidson's principle, that survives this response. I argue that new reductionists (...)
  11. Mental Concepts: Causal Because Anomalous.Peter Bieri - 1993 - In Ralf Stoecker (ed.), Reflecting Davidson. Hawthorne: De Gruyter.
  12. A Psychophysical Study of Hunger in the Rat.Robert C. Bolles - 1962 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 63 (4):387.
  13. Anomalous Dualism: A New Approach to the Mind-Body Problem.David Bourget - forthcoming - In William Seager (ed.), The Handbook of Panpsychism. Routledge.
    We can classify theories of consciousness along two dimensions. First, a theory might be physicalist or dualist. Second, a theory might endorse any of these three 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 anomalism (they interact but not through deterministic laws). In this paper, I explore anomalous dualism, a combination of views that has (...)
  14. Supervenience and Anomalous Monism.J. Brakel - 1999 - Dialectica 53 (1):3-24.
    SummaryIn this paper I argue that the intuitions which made Davidson and Hare use the word “supervenience,” were not the same as those which underlie current supervenience discussions. There are crucial differences between, on the one hand, the concerns of Davidson and Hare, as I interpret them, and “received” theories of supervenience on the other. I suggest the use of the term by Davidson and Hare lends support to turning the concept upside down by giving priority to the Manifest Image (...)
  15. The Mind of Donald Davidson.Johannes L. Brandl (ed.) - 1989 - Netherlands: Rodopi.
    WHAT IS PRESENT TO THE MIND? Donald DAVIDSON The University of California at Berkeley There is a sense in which anything we think about is, ...
  16. The Impossibility of Psycho-Physical Laws.David Brooks - 1980 - Philosophical Papers 9 (October):21-45.
  17. Philosophy Of Psychology.Stuart C. Brown (ed.) - 1974 - London: : Macmillan.
  18. 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.
  19. 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. (...)
  20. Anomalous Monism.Neil Campbell - manuscript
    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 (...)
  21. Causes and Causal Explanations: Davidson and His Critics.Neil Campbell - 2003 - Philosophia 31 (1-2):149-157.
  22. Anomalous Monism and the Charge of Epiphenomenalism.Neil Campbell - 1998 - Dialectica 52 (1):23-39.
    I begin with the view that the usual property‐based epiphenomenalist challenges to anomalous monism are unconvincing in light of Davidson's reluctance to analyze causation in terms of properties. I argue, however, that the challenges against Davidson do hold in the weaker sense that although mental events have causal efficacy the identification of an agent's reasons does not causally explain behaviour. I then show that in light of Davidson's commitment to psychophysical supervenience this does not constitute a serious problem for anomalous (...)
  23. The Standard Objection to Anomalous Monism.Neil Campbell - 1997 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 75 (3):373-82.
  24. Introduction: Anomalous Experiences in Perspective.E. Cardeña, S. J. Lynn & S. Krippner - 2000 - In E. Cardena & S. Lynn (eds.), Varieties of Anomalous Experience: Examining the Scientific Evidence. American Psychological Association. pp. 4.
  25. Qualitative Research on Anomalous Experience: Between Borges and a Hard Place….Etzel Cardeña - unknown
    With the help of the Argentine writer Borges, I will illustrate the absurdity of assuming that science may either grasp reality fully or convey it through abstractions. My departing point is that every methodological perspective has something to contribute to our attempts to elucidate anomalous experiences, and that the extremes of “realness” or abstraction lead to fallacies. The articles in this issue exhibit a different array of methods that clearly advance our understanding of anomalous experiences and the historical and social (...)
  26. 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 (...)
  27. Davidson's Action Theory and Epiphenomenalism.Kam-Yuen Cheng - 1997 - Journal of Philosophical Research 22 (April):81-95.
  28. Anomalism, Uncodifiability, and Psychophysical Relations.William Child - 1993 - Philosophical Review 102 (2):215-245.
  29. Materialism and Madness.W. E. Cooper - 1980 - Philosophical Papers 9 (May):36-40.
  30. 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 (...)
  31. Why Even Kim-Style Psychophysical Laws Are Impossible.Steven G. Daniel - 1999 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 80 (3):225-237.
    If the mental is subject to indeterminacy, does this rule out the possibility of psychophysical laws? One might think so. However, Jaegwon Kim has argued for the existence of a kind of psychophysical law that is not obviously susceptible to problems posed by indeterminacy. I begin by introducing a weak and relatively uncontroversial indeterminacy thesis. Then, by appealing to constraints on theories of strong supervenience and to general considerations about the nature of indeterminacy, I argue that even Kim’s laws cannot (...)
  32. The Emergence of Thought.Donald Davidson - 1999 - Erkenntnis 51 (1):511-21.
    A phenomenon “emerges” when a concept is instantiated for the first time: hence emergence is relative to a set of concepts. Propositional thought and language emerge together. It is proposed that the degree of complexity of an object language relative to a given metalanguage can be gauged by the number of ways it can be translated into that metalanguage: in analogy with other forms of measurement, the more ways the object language can be translated into the metalanguage, the less powerful (...)
  33. Laws and Cause.Donald Davidson - 1995 - Dialectica 49 (2-4):263-79.
    Anomalous Monism is the view that mental entities are identical with physical entities, but that the vocabulary used to describe, predict and explain mental events is neither definitionally nor nomologically reducible to the vocabulary of physics. The argument for Anomalous Monism rests in part on the claim that every true singular causal statement relating two events is backed by a law that covers those events when those events are appropriately described. This paper attempts to clarify and defend this claim by (...)
  34. Reply to Peter Bieri's Mental Concepts: Causal Because Anomalous.Donald Davidson - 1993 - In Ralf Stoecker (ed.), Reflecting Davidson. Hawthorne: De Gruyter.
  35. Thinking Causes.Donald Davidson - 1992 - In John Heil & Alfred R. Mele (eds.), Mental Causation. Oxford University Press. pp. 1993--3.
  36. Problems in the Explanation of Action.Donald Davidson - 1987 - In Philip Pettit, Richard Sylvan & J. Norman (eds.), Metaphysics and Morality. Blackwell.
  37. Essays on Actions and Events.Donald Davidson - 1980 - Oxford University Press.
  38. Psychology as Philosophy.Donald Davidson - 1974 - In S. Brown (ed.), Philosophy of Psychology. Harper & Row.
  39. The Material Mind.Donald Davidson - 1973 - In Patrick Suppes (ed.), Logic, Methodology and the Philosophy of Science. North-Holland.
  40. Mental Events.Donald Davidson - 1970 - In L. Foster & J. W. Swanson (eds.), Essays on Actions and Events. Clarendon Press. pp. 207-224.
  41. 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 (...)
  42. Anomalous Monism and Radical Interpretation: A Reply to Dwayne Moore.Manuel de Pinedo - 2012 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 31 (1):99-108.
  43. 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.
  44. The Effect of Oxidation on Anomalous Diffusion in Silicon.P. S. Dobson - 1971 - Philosophical Magazine 24 (189):567-576.
  45. Anomalous Transfer in Rats: A “Macropattern” Phenomenon.P. C. Dodwell, R. R. Niemi & H. B. Ferguson - 1976 - Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 7 (2):157-159.
  46. What is a Physical Event?Dalia Drai - 1994 - Philosophical Papers 23 (2):129-135.
  47. Propositional Attitudes, Intentionality, and Lawful Behaviors.Luiz Henrique de A. Dutra - 2010 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 7 (1):93-114.
    This paper aims to discuss Quine’s last analysis of propositional attitudes as involving intentionality and as regards human action and the very sub-ject matter of social sciences. As to this problem, Quine acquiesces in both Davidson’s anomalous monism and Dennett’s intentional stance. An al-ternative analysis is here presented, which is based on Howard Rachlin’s teleological behaviorism. Some problems regarding this approach are also considered. Intentionality and rationality are still to be saved, but they are construed according to a lawful perspective (...)
  48. Explanation in Psychology: Functional Support for Anomalous Monism.Jim Edwards - 1990 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 27:45-64.
  49. Explanation in Psychology: Functional Support for Anomalous Monism: Jim Edwards.Jim Edwards - 1990 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 27:45-64.
    Donald Davidson finds folk-psychological explanations anomalous due to the open-ended and constitutive conception of rationality which they employ, and yet monist because they invoke an ontology of only physical events. An eliminative materialist who thinks that the beliefs and desires of folk-psychology are mere pre-scientific fictions cannot accept these claims, but he could accept anomalous monism construed as an analysis , merely, of the ideological and ontological presumptions of folk-psychology. Of course, eliminative materialism is itself only a guess, a marker (...)
  50. Indeterminacy, Underdetermination and the Anomalous Monism.Catherine Z. Elgin - 1980 - Synthese 45:233-55.
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