Now in a new edition, this volume updates Davidson's exceptional Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation (1984), which set out his enormously influential philosophy of language. The original volume remains a central point of reference, and a focus of controversy, with its impact extending into linguistic theory, philosophy of mind, and epistemology. Addressing a central question--what it is for words to mean what they do--and featuring a previously uncollected, additional essay, this work will appeal to a wide audience of philosophers, linguists, (...) and psychologists. (shrink)
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 (...) urged by many recent writers. (shrink)
The concept of metaphor as primarily a vehicle for conveying ideas, even if unusual ones, seems to me as wrong as the parent idea that a metaphor has a special meaning. I agree with the view that metaphors cannot be paraphrased, but I think this is not because metaphors say something too novel for literal expression but because there is nothing there to paraphrase. Paraphrase, whether possible or not, inappropriate to what is said: we try, in paraphrase, to say it (...) another way. But if I am right, a metaphor doesn't say anything beyond its literal meaning . This is not, of course, to deny that a metaphor has a point, nor that that point can be brought out by using further words. . . . My disagreement is with the explanation of how metaphor works its wonders. To anticipate: I depend on the distinction between what words mean and what they are used to do. I think metaphor belongs exclusively to the domain of use. It is something brought off by the imaginative employment of words and sentences and depends entirely on the ordinary meanings of those words and hence on the ordinary meanings of the sentences they comprise. Donald Davidson is University Professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago. He is the author of many important essays, including "Actions, Reasons and Causes," "Causal Relations," and "Truth and Meaning," coauthor of Decision-Making: An Experimental Approach, and coeditor of Words and Objections, Semantics of Natural Language, and The Logic of Grammar. (shrink)
Meditation can be conceptualized as a family of complex tial to be speciﬁc about the type of meditation practice emotional and attentional regulatory training regimes under investigation. Failure to make such distinctions developed for various ends, including the cultivation of..
Subjective, Intersubjective, Objective is the long-awaited third volume of philosophical writings by Donald Davidson, whose influence on philosophy since the 1960s has been deep and broad. Davidson 's first two collections, published by OUP in the early 1980s, are recognized as contemporary classics. His ideas have continued to flow, and now he presents a selection of his best work on knowledge, mind, and language from the last two decades--a rich and rewarding feast for anyone interested in philosophy today, and essential (...) reading for anyone working on these topics. (shrink)
Truth, Language, and History is the much-anticipated final volume of Donald Davidson's philosophical writings. In four groups of essays, Davidson continues to explore the themes that occupied him for more than fifty years: the relations between language and the world; speaker intention and linguistic meaning; language and mind; mind and body; mind and world; mind and other minds. He asks: what is the role of the concept of truth in these explorations? And, can a scientific world view make room for (...) human thought without reducing it to something material and mechanistic? Including a new introduction by his widow, Marcia Cavell, this volume completes Donald Davidson's colossal intellectual legacy. (shrink)
Applies and extends the conclusions of the preceding chapters by examining cases of self‐deception of a puzzling sort emerging from cases of fantasizing and imagining, found in Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Flaubert's Madame Bovary. The author is particularly interested in what can be described as the ‘divided mind of self‐deception’, the mind that produces an imagination due to its realising the state of the world that motivates the fantasy construct and the possessor's eventual acquisition (...) of the belief that the fantasy construct represents reality accurately. In the process of deceiving oneself, he holds, no clear line can be drawn between imaginative activities that are not yet self‐deceptive and those that are. (shrink)
Problems of Rationality is the eagerly awaited fourth volume of Donald Davidson 's philosophical writings. From the 1960s until his death in August 2003 Davidson was perhaps the most influential figure in English-language philosophy, and his work has had a profound effect upon the discipline. His unified theory of the interpretation of thought, meaning, and action holds that rationality is a necessary condition for both mind and interpretation. Davidson here develops this theory to illuminate value judgements and how we understand (...) them; to investigate what the conditions are for attributing mental states to an object or creature; and to grapple with the problems presented by thoughts and actions which seem to be irrational. Anyone working on knowledge, mind, and language will find these essays essential reading. (shrink)
SummaryNeither an infant one week old nor a snail is a rational creature. If the infant survives long enough, he will probably become rational, while this is not true of the snail. If we like, we may say of the infant from the start that he is a rational creature because he will probably become rational if he survives, or because he belongs to a species with this capacity. Whichever way we talk, there remains the difference, with respect to rationality, (...) between the infant and the snail on one hand, and the normal adult person on the other; this difference is discussed here.The difference consists, it is argued, in the having of propositional attitudes such as belief, desire, intention and shame. This raises the question how to tell when a creature has propositional attitudes; snails, we may agree, do not, but how about dogs or chimpanzees? The question is not empirical; the question is what sort of empirical evidence is relevant to deciding when a creature has propositional attitudes.It is next contended that language is a necessary concomitant of any of the propositional attitudes. This idea is not new, but there seem to be few arguments in its favor in the literature; one is attempted here.Crucial to the considerations advanced is the idea that belief depends on having the concept of objective truth, and that this comes only with language.RéuméNi un bébé d'une semaine, ni un serpent ne sont des créatures rationnelles. Si le bébé survit assez longtemps, il deviendra probablement rationnel, mais ce n'est pas vrai pour le serpent. Sil'on veut, on peut dire d'emblee du bébé qu'il est une créature rationnelle parce qu'il le deviendra s'il survit ou parce qu'il appartient à une espèce qui possède cette faculté. Quoi qu'on dise, la différence subsiste, en ce qui concerné la rationalité, entre le bébé et le serpent d'une part, la per‐sonne adulte normale de lcar;autre, et c'est cette différence qui sera discutée ici.La différence consiste, selon l'auteur, en une capacityé d'avoir des attitudes propositionnelles telles que la croyance, le désir, l'intention et la honte. Ceci pose la question de savoir quand on peut dire qu'une créature a des attitudes propositionnelles; on peut se mettre d'accord sur le fait que les serpents n'en ont pas, mais qu'en est‐il des chiens et des chimpanzés? La question n'est pas empirique, elle est de savoir quelle donnée empirique va décider si oui ou non une créature a des attitudes propositionnelles.L'auteur prétend que les attitudes propositionnelles s'accompagnent nécessairement du langage. Cette idèe n'est pas nouvelle, mais il semble qu'il y a peu d'arguments qui la soutiennent dans la littérature. On en trouvera un ici, où l'on montre qu'un élément crucial de a croyance dépend de l'acquisition du concept de vérité objective, qui ne se développe qu'avec le langage.ZusammenfassungWeder ein eine Woche altes Kind noch eine Schlange sind rationale Wesen. Wenn das Kind lange genug überlebt, wird es sich wahrscheinlich zu einem vernünftigen Wesen entwickeln, wäh‐rend das für die Schlange nicht zutrifft. Wenn wir wollen, können wir vom Kind sagen, dass es von Anfang an cin rationales Wesen ist, weil es im Fallc des Ubcrlebens vernünftig werden wird oder weil es zu einer Spezies mit dieser Fähigkeit gehört. Wie auch immer wir das ausdrücken, bleibt bezüglich der Rationalität der Unterschied zwischen dem Kind und der Schlange einerseits und der erwachsenen Person andererseits zurück. Dieser Unterschied wird hier diskutiert.Es wird argumentiert, dass der Unterschied in der Fähigkeit besteht, psychologische Haltun‐gen wie Glauben, Begierden, Absichten und Scham zu haben. Damit erhebt sich die Frage, wie man entscheiden kann, wann ein Wesen solchc Einstellungcn hat; Schlangen, wird man zugeben, haben keine; wie steht es aber mit Hunden Oder Schimpansen? Die Frage ist keine empirische, sondern betrifft die Frage, welche Art von empirischen Belegen für den Entscheid relevant ist, ob ein Wesen derartige Einstellungen hat.Es wird die These aufgestellt, dass Sprachen ein notwendiger Begleitumstand einer jeglichen propositionalen Haltung ist. Der Gedanke ist zwar nicht neu, aber es finden sich wenige Argu‐mente zu seiner Stützung in der Literatur; eines wird hier ausgeführt.Entscheidend für die vorgelegten Betrachtungen ist die Auffassung, wonach Glaube vom Begriff der objektiven Wahrheit abhängt, und dieser kommt erst mit der Sprache. (shrink)
This paper examines the relationship between organizational ethical culture in two large international CPA firms, auditors'' personal values and the ethical orientation that those values dictate, and judgments in ethical dilemmas typical of those that accountants face. Using an experimental task consisting of multiple judgments designed to vary in "moral intensity" (Jones, 1991), and unique as well as tried-and-true approaches to variable measurements, this study examined the judgments of more than three hundred participants in our study. ANCOVA and path analysis (...) results indicate that: (1) Ethical judgments in situations of high moral intensity are affected by personal values and by environmental variables, such as the professional code of conduct (direct and indirect effects) and previous ethics instruction (direct effect only). (2) Corporate ethical culture, and a relatively strong firm rules-orientation, affect auditors'' idealism but not relativism, and therefore indirectly affect ethical judgments. Jones'' (1991) moral intensity argument is supported: differences in the characteristics of specific judgment tasks apparently result in different decision processes. (shrink)
Donald Davidson has prepared a new edition of his classic 1980 collection of Essays on Actions and Events, including two additional essays. In this seminal investigation of the nature of human action, Davidson argues for an ontology which includes events along with persons and other objects. Certain events are identified and explained as actions when they are viewed as caused and rationalized by reasons; these same events, when described in physical, biological, or physiological terms, may be explained by appeal to (...) natural laws. The mental and the physical thus constitute irreducibly discrete ways of explaining and understanding events and their causal relations. -/- Among the topics discussed are: freedom to act; weakness of the will; the logical form of talk about actions, intentions, and causality; the logic of practical reasoning; Hume's theory of the indirect passions; and the nature and limits of decision theory. The introduction, cross-references, and appendices emphasize the relations between the essays and explain how Davidson's views have developed. -/- . (shrink)
This is the long-awaited third volume of philosophical writings by Davidson, whose influence on philosophy since the 1960s has been deep and broad. His first two collections, published by Oxford in the early 1980s, are recognized as contemporary classics. His ideas have continued to flow; now, in this new work, he presents a selection of his best work on knowledge, mind, and language from the last two decades. It is a rich and rewarding feast for anyone interested in philosophy, and (...) essential reading for anyone working on these topics. (shrink)
Recent brain imaging studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have implicated insula and anterior cingulate cortices in the empathic response to another’s pain. However, virtually nothing is known about the impact of the voluntary generation of compassion on this network. To investigate these questions we assessed brain activity using fMRI while novice and expert meditation practitioners generated a loving-kindness-compassion meditation state. To probe affective reactivity, we presented emotional and neutral sounds during the meditation and comparison periods. Our main hypothesis (...) was that the concern for others cultivated during this form of meditation enhances affective processing, in particular in response to sounds of distress, and that this response to emotional sounds is modulated by the degree of meditation training. The presentation of the emotional sounds was associated with increased pupil diameter and activation of limbic regions (insula and cingulate cortices) during meditation (versus rest). During meditation, activation in insula was greater during presentation of negative sounds than positive or neutral sounds in expert than it was in novice meditators. The strength of activation in insula was also associated with self-reported intensity of the meditation for both groups. These results support the role of the limbic circuitry in emotion sharing. The comparison between meditation vs. rest states between experts and novices also showed increased activation in amygdala, right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), and right posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) in response to all sounds, suggesting, greater detection of the emotional sounds, and enhanced mentation in response to emotional human vocalizations for experts than novices during meditation. Together these data indicate that the mental expertise to cultivate positive emotion alters the activation of circuitries previously linked to empathy and theory of mind in response to emotional stimuli.. (shrink)
Donald Davidson presents a new edition of the 1984 volume which set out his enormously influential philosophy of language. Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation has been a central point of reference and a focus of controversy in the subject ever since, and its influence has extended into linguistic theory, philosophy of mind, and epistemology. The central question which these essays address is what it is for words to mean what they do. This new edition features an additional essay, previously uncollected.
D. In doing x an agent acts incontinently if and only if: 1) the agent does x intentionally; 2) the agent believes there is an alternative action y open to him; and 3) the agent judges that, all things considered, it would be better to do y than to do x.
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 (...) the conceptual resources of the object language. (shrink)
The author believes that large‐scale rationality on the part of the interpretant is essential to his interpretability, and therefore, in his view, to her having a mind. How, then are cases of irrationality, such as akrasia or self‐deception, judged by the interpretant's own standards, possible? He proposes that, in order to resolve the apparent paradoxes, one must distinguish between accepting a contradictory proposition and accepting separately each of two contradictory propositions, which are held apart, which in turn requires to conceive (...) of the mind as containing a number of semi‐independent structures of interlocking beliefs, desires, emotions, memories, and other mental states. (shrink)
Emotion is normally regulated in the human brain by a complex circuit consisting of the orbital frontal cortex, amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex, and several other interconnected regions. There are both genetic and environmental contributions to the structure and function of this circuitry. We posit that impulsive aggression and violence arise as a consequence of faulty emotion regulation. Indeed, the prefrontal cortex receives a major serotonergic projection, which is dysfunctional in individuals who show impulsive violence. Individuals vulnerable to faulty regulation of (...) negative emotion are at risk for violence and aggression. Research on the neural circuitry of emotion regulation suggests new avenues of intervention for such at-risk populations. (shrink)