About this topic

Anomalous monism is the name of Donald Davidson’s theory of the mind body relation. It holds that (1) there can be no strict laws governing mental events qua mental events, but that (2) every event is governed by strict laws of physics. Thus anomalous monism adverts to mental-physical token identity. Critics of anomalous monism argue that while mental events could be causes of physical events they were causes in virtue of the physical properties, thus leaving the mental properties epiphenomenal.  

Key works Key works about anomalous monism and mental causation include the articles by Davidson wherein the theory is expounded, including  Mental Events;  Psychology as Philosophy; and  Actions, Reasons and Causes. Key works in the epiphenomenalist criticism of anomalous monism are Kim's  The Myth of Non-Reductive Materialism, and Can Supervenience and 'Non-strict Laws' Save Anomalous Monism? as well as McLaughlin's On Davidsons's Response to the Charge of Epiphenomenalism.   
Introductions Anomalous Monism by Julie Yoo in the Oxford Handbook to Philosophy of Mind. Anomalous Monism by Steven Yalowitz in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 
Related categories

71 found
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  1. added 2018-10-05
    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 (...)
  2. added 2018-09-30
    A máquina semântica de Freud: do mecanismo à intencionalidade.Claudia Passos-Ferreira - 2011 - São Paulo: Annablume.
  3. added 2018-08-11
    Monismo. Anómalo?: Donald Davidson e o problema da causalidade mental.Diana Couto - 2017 - Kinesis 20 (9):61-86.
  4. added 2018-04-02
    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 (...)
  5. added 2018-03-13
    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 (...)
  6. added 2018-02-17
    Davidson and Kim on Psychophysical Laws.Noa Latham - 1999 - Synthese 118 (2):121-143.
    Nearly 30 years have passed since Donald Davidson first presented his ar- gument against the possibility of psychophysical laws in “Mental Events”. The argument applies to intentional rather than phenomenal properties, so whenever I refer to mental properties and to psychophysical laws it should be understood that I mean intentional properties and laws relating them to physical properties. No consensus has emerged over what the argument actually is, and the subsequent versions of it presented by Davidson show significant differences. But (...)
  7. added 2018-01-30
    Mental Causation.Rodolfo Giorgi & Andrea Lavazza - 2018 - Aphex 17.
    This article aims to provide a brief overview of mental causation problem and its current proposed solutions. Indeed, mental causation turns out as one of the most difficult philosophical conundrums in contemporary philosophy of mind. In the first two sections, we offer an outline of the problem and the philosophical debate about it, and show that mental causation problem is pivotal within the contemporary philosophy of mind. In the third section, we focus on the most popular models of mental causation, (...)
  8. added 2017-02-08
    The Relational Element in Monism.Edmund Noble - 1905 - The Monist 15 (3):321-337.
  9. added 2017-01-26
    The Epiphenomenalism Charge as an External Objection to Anomalous Monism.Katarzyna Paprzycka - 2011 - Filozofia Nauki 19 (2):135.
  10. added 2017-01-18
    Whitehead's Ontology and Davidson's Anomalous Monism.Pierfrancesco Basile - 2005 - Process Studies 34 (1):3-9.
  11. added 2017-01-18
    The Nomological Principle and the Argument for Anomalous Monism.Hagit Benbaji - 2005 - Iyyun 54 (January):90-108.
  12. added 2017-01-18
    Mental Concepts: Causal Because Anomalous.Peter Bieri - 1993 - In Ralf Stoecker (ed.), Reflecting Davidson. Hawthorne: De Gruyter.
  13. added 2017-01-18
    Psychology: Autonomous or Anomalous?Andrew Kernohan - 1985 - Dialogue 24 (3):427-42.
  14. added 2017-01-06
    Mental Causation.Rebekah L. H. Rice - 2016 - In Kevin Timpe, Meghan Griffith & Neil Levy (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Free Will. Routledge.
  15. added 2016-12-08
    Explanatory Exclusion and Causal Exclusion.Sophie C. Gibb - 2009 - Erkenntnis 71 (2):205-221.
    Given Kim’s principle of explanatory exclusion (EE), it follows that in addition to the problem of mental causation, dualism faces a problem of mental explanation. However, the plausibility of EE rests upon the acceptance of a further principle concerning the individuation of explanation (EI). The two methods of defending EI—either by combining an internal account of the individuation of explanation with a semantical account of properties or by accepting an external account of the individuation of explanation—are both metaphysically implausible. This (...)
  16. added 2016-12-08
    Making Mind Matter More.J. Fodor - 1989 - Philosophical Topics 17 (11):59-79.
  17. added 2015-08-26
    Mental Causation: The Mind-Body Problem.Anthony Dardis - 2008 - Columbia University Press.
    Anthony Dardis shows how to unravel the knot. He traces its early appearance in the history of philosophical inquiry, specifically in the work of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and T. H. Huxley.
  18. added 2015-03-19
    Relewancja kauzalna a nominalizm. Kilka uwag na temat ontologii Davidsona.Mariusz Grygianiec - 2012 - Filozofia Nauki 20 (1).
    The paper presents a rejoinder to Katarzyna Paprzycka's critique of my defence of Davidson's ontology. According to Paprzycka the epiphenomenalists objection to the doctrine of anomalous monism, considered as an internal objection, is unquestionably flawed, but when it comes to some external interpretations of the objection in question — it is justified. The text provides a couple of arguments and comments which are intended to show that in most cases the external objection to anomalous monism is in fact either uncharitable (...)
  19. added 2015-02-03
    Overdetermination Underdetermined.Sara Bernstein - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (1):17-40.
    Widespread causal overdetermination is often levied as an objection to nonreductive theories of minds and objects. In response, nonreductive metaphysicians have argued that the type of overdetermination generated by their theories is different from the sorts of coincidental cases involving multiple rock-throwers, and thus not problematic. This paper pushes back. I argue that attention to differences between types of overdetermination discharges very few explanatory burdens, and that overdetermination is a bigger problem for the nonreductive metaphysician than previously thought.
  20. added 2014-05-21
    Mental Causes and the Explanation of Action.C. Macdonald & Graham Macdonald - 1986 - Philosophical Quarterly 36 (143):145-158.
  21. added 2014-05-14
    Reconciling Anomalous Monism with Scheme-Content Dualism: A Reply to Manuel de Pinedo.Dwayne Moore - 2010 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 29 (1):51-62.
  22. added 2014-03-30
    Supervenience and Anomalous Monism: Blackburn on Davidson.Nick Zangwill - 1993 - Philosophical Studies 71 (1):59-79.
    In his paper "Supervenience Revisisted", Simon Blackburn redeployed his novel modal argument against moral realism as an argument against Donald Davidson's position of 'anomalous monism' in the philosophy of mind (Blackburn 1985).' I shall assess this redeployment. In the first part of this paper, I shall lay out Blackburn's argument. In the second and longer part I shall examine Davidson's denial of psychophysical laws in the light of this argument.
  23. added 2014-03-30
    Anomalous Monism, Ceteris Paribus, and Psychological Explanation.Robert Klee - 1992 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 43 (3):389-403.
    Davidson has argued that there can be no laws linking psychological states with physical states. I stress that this argument depends crucially on there being no purely psychological laws. All of this has to do with the holism and indeterminacy of the psychological domain. I criticize this claim by showing how Davidson misconstrues the role of ceteris paribus clauses in psychological explanation. Using a model of how ceteris paribus clauses operate derived from Lakatos, I argue that if Davidson is correct, (...)
  24. added 2014-03-29
    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 (...)
  25. added 2014-03-28
    Is Anomalous Monism Inconsistent After All?G. C. Goddu - 1999 - Philosophia 27 (3-4):509-519.
  26. added 2014-03-28
    Anomalous Monism and Epiphenomenalism.Rex Welshon - 1999 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 80 (1):103-120.
    I argue that, on plausible assumptions, anomalous entails monism epiphenomenalism of the mental. The plausible assumptions are (1) events are particulars; (2) causal relations are extensional; (3) mental properties are epiphrastic. A principle defender of anomalous monism, Donald Davidson, acknowledges that anomalous monism is committed to (1) and (2). I argue that it is committed to (3) as well. Given (1), (2), and (3), epiphenomenalism of the mental falls out immediately. Three attempts to salvage anomalous monism from epiphenomenalism of the (...)
  27. added 2014-03-27
    Could There Be a Science of Rationality?Donald Davidson - 1995 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 3 (1):1-16.
  28. added 2014-03-23
    Causes and Causal Explanations: Davidson and His Critics.Neil Campbell - 2003 - Philosophia 31 (1-2):149-157.
  29. added 2014-03-14
    Davidson on the Impossibility of Psychophysical Laws.G. 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.
  30. added 2014-03-12
    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 (...)
  31. added 2014-03-09
    Mind in a Physical World: An Essay on the Mind-Body Problem and Mental Causation.Jaegwon Kim - 1998 - MIT Press.
    This book, based on Jaegwon Kim's 1996 Townsend Lectures, presents the philosopher's current views on a variety of issues in the metaphysics of the mind...
  32. added 2014-03-06
    The Metaphysics of Mental Causation.Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy 103 (11):539-576.
    A debate has been raging in the philosophy of mind for at least the past two decades. It concerns whether the mental can make a causal difference to the world. Suppose that I am reading the newspaper and it is getting dark. I switch on the light, and continue with my reading. One explanation of why my switching on of the light occurred is that a desiring with a particular content (that I continue reading), a noticing with a particular content (...)
  33. added 2014-03-05
    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 (...)
  34. added 2013-09-08
    Mental Causation.John Heil & Alfred Mele (eds.) - 1993 - Clarendon Press.
    Common sense and philosophical tradition agree that mind makes a difference. What we do depends not only on how our bodies are put together, but also on what we think. Explaining how mind can make a difference has proved challenging, however. Some have urged that the project faces an insurmountable dilemma: either we concede that mentalistic explanations of behaviour have only a pragmatic standing, or we abandon our conception of the physical domain as causally autonomous. Although each option has its (...)
  35. added 2013-07-21
    Boundless Thought. The Case of Conceptual Mental Episodes.Pierre Steiner - 2012 - Manuscrito 35 (2):269-309.
    I present and defend here a thesis named vehicleless externalism for conceptual mental episodes. According to it, the constitutive relations there are between the production of conceptual mental episodes by an individual and the inclusion of this individual in social discursive practices make it non-necessary to equate, even partially, conceptual mental episodes with the occurrence of physical events inside of that individual. Conceptual mental episodes do not have subpersonal vehicles; they have owners: persons in interpretational practices. That thesis is grounded (...)
  36. added 2012-07-10
    Emergence and Downward Causation.Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald - 2010 - In Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (eds.), Emergence in Mind. Oxford University Press.
  37. added 2012-07-02
    The Other Explanatory Gap.Julie Yoo - manuscript
    One of the driving questions in philosophy of mind is whether a person can be understood in purely physical terms. In this presentation, I wish to continue the project initiated by Donald Davidson, whose subtle position on this question has left many more perplexed than enlightened. The main reason for this perplexity is Davidson’s rather obscure pronouncements about the normativity of intentionality and its role in supporting psychophysical anomalism – the claim that there are no laws bridging our intentional states (...)
  38. added 2011-01-29
    L'inertie du mental.Renée Bilodeau - 1993 - Dialogue 32 (3):507-525.
    This paper addresses two objections raised against anomalous monism. Firstly, on the basis of Davidson's assertion that all causal relations fall under strict laws, many critics conclude mental properties are causally inert since they are non-nomic. I argue that this conclusion follows only on the further assumption that all causally efficacious properties are nomic properties. It is perfectly consistent, however, to hold that there is a law covering each causal relation without each causal statement being the instantiation of a law. (...)
  39. added 2010-10-19
    Anomalous Monism.Steven Yalowitz - 2005 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  40. added 2010-10-19
    Mental Causation.John Heil - 2002 - In Stephen P. Stich & Ted A. Warfield (eds.), Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger. Blackwell. pp. 29--52.
  41. added 2010-10-19
    Davidson and Nonreductive Materialism: A Tale of Two Cultures.Howard M. Robinson - 2001 - In Carl Gillett & Barry M. Loewer (eds.), Physicalism and its Discontents. Cambridge University Press.
  42. added 2010-10-19
    Davidson on Causal Relevance.Brian J. Garrett - 1999 - Ratio 12 (1):14-33.
    Davidson argues that mental properties are causally relevant properties. I argue that Davidson cannot appeal to ceteris paribus causal laws to ensure that these properties are causally relevant, if he wishes to retain his argument for anomalous monism. Second, I argue that the appeal to supervenience cannot, by itself, give us an account of the causal relevancy of mental properties. I argue that, while mental properties may indeed 'make a difference' to the causally efficacious properties of events, this is not (...)
  43. added 2010-10-19
    Davidson's Identity Crisis.Daniel D. Hutto - 1998 - Dialectica 52 (1):45-61.
    Professor Davidson's anomalous monism has been subject to the criticism that, despite advertisements to the contrary, if it were true mental properties would be epiphenomenal. To this Davidson has replied that his critics have misunderstood his views concerning the extensional nature of causal relations and the intensional character of causal explanations. I call this his 'extension reply'. This paper argues that there are two ways to read Davidson's 'extension reply'; one weaker and one stronger. But the dilemma is that: (i) (...)
  44. added 2010-10-19
    The Standard Objection to Anomalous Monism.Neil Campbell - 1997 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 75 (3):373-82.
  45. added 2010-10-19
    Mental Causation in a Physical World.Jaegwon Kim - 1993 - In Philosophical Issues. Ridgeview. pp. 27-50.
  46. added 2010-10-19
    Davidson's Thinking Causes.Ernest Sosa - 1993 - In John Heil & Alfred R. Mele (eds.), Mental Causation. Oxford University Press.
  47. added 2010-10-19
    Some Anomalies in Kim's Account of Davidson.Alexander Miller - 1993 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 31 (3):335-44.
  48. added 2010-10-19
    On Davidson's Response to the Charge of Epiphenomenalism.Brian P. McLaughlin - 1992 - In John Heil & Alfred R. Mele (eds.), Mental Causation. Oxford University Press.
    [Why Davidson's Anomalous Monism Would Lead to Type Epiphenomenalism]: 1. According to Davidson, events can cause other events only in virtue of falling under physical types cited in strict laws; 2. But no mental event-type is a physical event-type cited in a strict law, since the mental is anomalous. 3. Therefore, under Davidson's theory, type epiphenomenalism is true.
  49. added 2010-10-19
    Davidson's Troubles with Supervenience.James C. Klagge - 1990 - Synthese 85 (November):339-52.
  50. added 2010-10-19
    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 (...)
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