Item description for Essays on Actions and Events (Philosophical Essays of Donald Davidson) by Donald Davidson...
This collection contains Donald Davidson's 1980 collection of Essays on Actions and Events, including two additional essays. In this 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.
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Studio: Oxford University Press, USA
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.53" Width: 5.48" Height: 0.74" Weight: 0.9 lbs.
Release Date Dec 6, 2001
Publisher Oxford University Press
ISBN 0199246270 ISBN13 9780199246274
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More About Donald Davidson
Donald Davidson was the Willis S. and Marion Slusser Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley until his death from cardiac arrest on August 30th, 2003. He was one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century.
Donald Davidson lived in the state of California. Donald Davidson was born in 1917 and died in 2003.
Donald Davidson has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Essays on Actions and Events (Philosophical Essays of Donald Davidson)?
Average rating - some papers 4-5 stars; some less Jul 6, 2001
This is the standard collection of Davidson's early writings on events, action, and some of his work on the philosophy of mind and psychology. Some of the papers are very good ("The Logical Form of Action Sentences" is rightly regarded as a classic) whereas some other papers (e.g. "Mental Events") are obscure and confused. The latter suffers from (apparently) a lack of contact with how psychology (and in particular, cognitive neuroscience) is practiced. I nevertheless recommend the volume as a good collection of papers by one of the 20th century's more influential philosophers. I should note in passing that Davidson's current views on the individuation of events are not discussed in any of the papers. For that, see _Actions and Events: Perspectives on the Philosphy of Donald Davidson_ and his article "Reply to Quine on Events" therein.
Defeat of behaviorism and an embrace of free will Aug 22, 2000
As a guy who wrote no books, Davidson's two published collections have done the work of securing his legacy. In this volume, among other things, we have the papers that argue for two of his most important theses in philosophy of mind. (1) The behaviorists argued that every state of mind was at best a disposition to some behavior, as in Gilbert Ryle's _The Concept of Mind_. Davidson, in "Actions, Reasons, Causes" and a couple of other papers in this volume, laid bare one of the essential arguments that put down this view for good. We often have many reasons or other mental states upon which we do not act. But such beliefs or desires are still reasons, and still mental states--just ones that behaviorism can't account for. (2) Davidson argues for the oft-maligned but influential thesis of anomalous monism, as a strategy to resolve the worries arising from "materialism of the mental". If the mind is mere matter, then physics will eventually figure out its laws! Then where will our free will be? Davidson argues, relying on some tendentious claims about what a law is, that there can never be laws of the mental *even though* there are laws of the physical stuff. The mental is anomalous and not lawlike.
Anyway, this volume is a very important piece of recent philosophy of mind. It also sets into motion an important tradition of thinking about moral psychology, action theory and ethics from the perspective of reasons for agential action.