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Summary

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. 
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  1. Anomalous Monism and the Problem of Explanatory Force.Louise M. 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 (...)
  2. Whitehead's Ontology and Davidson's Anomalous Monism.Pierfrancesco Basile - 2005 - Process Studies 34 (1):3-9.
  3. The Nomological Principle and the Argument for Anomalous Monism.Hagit Benbaji - 2005 - Iyyun 54 (January):90-108.
  4. 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.
  5. Mental Concepts: Causal Because Anomalous.Peter Bieri - 1993 - In Ralf Stoecker (ed.), Reflecting Davidson. Hawthorne: De Gruyter.
  6. L'inertie du mental.Renée Bilodeau - 1993 - Dialogue 32 (03):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. (...)
  7. Causes and Causal Explanations: Davidson and His Critics.Neil Campbell - 2003 - Philosophia 31 (1-2):149-157.
  8. 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 (...)
  9. The Standard Objection to Anomalous Monism.Neil Campbell - 1997 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 75 (3):373-82.
  10. 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.
  11. Could There Be a Science of Rationality?Donald Davidson - 1995 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 3 (1):1-16.
  12. Problems in the Explanation of Action.Donald Davidson - 1987 - In Philip Pettit, Richard Sylvan & J. Norman (eds.), Metaphysics and Morality. Blackwell.
  13. Essays on Actions and Events.Donald Davidson - 1980 - Oxford University Press.
  14. Hempel on Explaining Action.Donald Davidson - 1976 - Erkenntnis 10 (3):239 - 253.
  15. Events and Particulars.Donald Davidson - 1970 - Noûs 4 (1):25-32.
  16. Causal Relations.Donald Davidson - 1967 - Journal of Philosophy 64 (21):691-703.
  17. Actions, Reasons, and Causes.Donald Davidson - 1963 - Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685-700.
    What is the relation between a reason and an action when the reason explains the action by giving the agent's reason for doing what he did? We may call such explanations rationalizations, and say that the reason rationalizes the action. In this paper I want to defend the ancient - and common-sense - position that rationalization is a species of ordinary causal explanation. The defense no doubt requires some redeployment, but not more or less complete abandonment of the position, as (...)
  18. 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 (...)
  19. Reasons and Causes.Fred Dretske - 1989 - Philosophical Perspectives 3:1-15.
  20. Making Mind Matter More.J. Fodor - 1989 - Philosophical Topics 17 (11):59-79.
  21. 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 (...)
  22. 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 (...)
  23. 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 (...)
  24. Is Anomalous Monism Inconsistent After All?G. C. Goddu - 1999 - Philosophia 27 (3-4):509-519.
  25. Davidson and the Anomalism of the Mental.Rew A. Godow - 1979 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 17 (2):163-174.
    In two of his more recent papers, Donald davidson has argued for the "a priori" truth of what he calls "the principle of the anomalism of the mental." my concern in this paper is with examining that principle and davidson's defense of it. After clarifying the principle, I discuss three considerations which davidson gives in its defense and argue that they are not persuasive. Then I argue that although the principle of the anomalism of the mental cannot be known "a (...)
  26. 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 (...)
  27. 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.
  28. Mental Causation.John Heil & Alfred Mele (eds.) - 1993 - Clarendon Press.
    I argue that the two standard models of mental causation fail to capture the crucial causal relevance of the reason-giving relations involved. Their common error is an exclusively mechanical conception of causation, on which any justification is bound to be independent of the causal process involved, based upon a general rule from which the correctness of the particular case follows only by subsumption. I establish possibility of an alternative model, by sketching an account of the causal dependence of perceptual knowledge (...)
  29. 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. Actions, Reasons and Humean Causes.Peter H. Hess - 1980 - Analysis 41 (March):77-81.
  31. Smith and the Champion of Mauve.Ted Honderich - 1984 - Analysis 44 (2):86-89.
  32. Anomalous Monism: Reply to Smith.Ted Honderich - 1983 - Analysis 43 (June):147-149.
  33. The Argument for Anomalous Monism.Ted Honderich - 1982 - Analysis 42 (January):59-64.
  34. 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) (...)
  35. Psychology: Autonomous or Anomalous?Andrew Kernohan - 1985 - Dialogue 24 (3):427-42.
  36. 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...
  37. Mental Causation in a Physical World.Jaegwon Kim - 1993 - In Philosophical Issues. Ridgeview. pp. 27-50.
  38. Mechanism, Purpose, and Explanatory Exclusion.Jaegwon Kim - 1989 - Philosophical Perspectives 3:77-108.
  39. The Myth of Non-Reductive Materialism.Jaegwon Kim - 1989 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 63 (3):31-47.
    Somewhat loose arguments that non-reductive physicalist realism is untenable. Anomalous monism makes the mental irrelevant, functionalism is compatible with species-specific reduction, and supervenience is weak or reductive.
  40. Causation, Nomic Subsumption, and the Concept of Event.Jaegwon Kim - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (8):217-236.
  41. Davidson's Troubles with Supervenience.James C. Klagge - 1990 - Synthese 85 (November):339-52.
  42. 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, (...)
  43. Hegel: Metaphysics Without Pre-Critical Monism.James Kreines - 2008 - Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain 57:48-70.
  44. Davidson and Kim on Psychophysical Laws.Noa Latham - 1999 - Synthese 118 (2):121-44.
    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 (...)
  45. Mental Causes and the Explanation of Action.C. Macdonald & Graham Macdonald - 1986 - Philosophical Quarterly 36 (143):145-158.
  46. Emergence and Downward Causation.Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald - 2010 - In Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (eds.), Emergence in Mind. Oxford University Press.
  47. 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 (...)
  48. 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. Some Anomalies in Kim's Account of Davidson.Alexander Miller - 1993 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 31 (3):335-44.
  50. 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.
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