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Davidson's identity crisis

Journal Article


Abstract


  • 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) the weak extension reply on its own

    isn’t sufficient to support the principle of the nomological character of causality, (ii) anything

    strong enough to support that principle under the weak extension reply would be strong enough

    to warrant the strong extension reply; but (iii) the strong extension reply threatens the very stability

    of anomalous monism by threatening the causal potency and reality of the mental. For

    these reasons, I claim that either version of the ‘extension reply’ is bad news for anomalous

    monism. I conclude by suggesting that a form of absolute idealism circumvents the very assumptions

    that generate these kinds of difficulty for committed monists.

Publication Date


  • 1998

Citation


  • Hutto, D. (1998). Davidson''s identity crisis. Dialectica, 52 (1), 45-61.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-0010093004

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/712

Number Of Pages


  • 16

Start Page


  • 45

End Page


  • 61

Volume


  • 52

Issue


  • 1

Abstract


  • 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) the weak extension reply on its own

    isn’t sufficient to support the principle of the nomological character of causality, (ii) anything

    strong enough to support that principle under the weak extension reply would be strong enough

    to warrant the strong extension reply; but (iii) the strong extension reply threatens the very stability

    of anomalous monism by threatening the causal potency and reality of the mental. For

    these reasons, I claim that either version of the ‘extension reply’ is bad news for anomalous

    monism. I conclude by suggesting that a form of absolute idealism circumvents the very assumptions

    that generate these kinds of difficulty for committed monists.

Publication Date


  • 1998

Citation


  • Hutto, D. (1998). Davidson''s identity crisis. Dialectica, 52 (1), 45-61.

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-0010093004

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/712

Number Of Pages


  • 16

Start Page


  • 45

End Page


  • 61

Volume


  • 52

Issue


  • 1