Are monads tokens ? I'm going to say yes, because each monad
refers to a corporeal body as a whole (so it is nonreductive at the physical
even though each monad, being specific about what it refers to,
identifies the type of object it refers to.
Roger Clough], [rclo...@verizon.net]
"Forever is a long time, especially near the end." -Woody Allen
----- Receiving the following content -----
From: Roger Clough
Time: 2012-12-16, 08:17:27
Subject: Davidson on truth
Donald Davidson on truth
I don't think you can do any better on understanding truth than studying Donald
As I understand him, in
1) he justifies comp (the use of tokens, because they are nonreductive) as long
as we allow for
(a) mental causation of physical events; (b) that there is a strict
(iff) between the events; (c) that we use tokens and not types to relate
2) He narrows down what form of language can be used.
Not sure but this seems to allow only finite, learnable context-free
3) He clarifies the meaning and use of 1p vs 3p. Observed that Hume accepted
knowledege, the logical positivists accepted only 3p knowledge, where 1p is
acquaintance and 3p is knowledge by description. I might add that IMHO 1p is
view that truth is subjective, so K is close to Hume.
"1. Token Mental events ( A justification of token physicalism: these being
comp and purely token functionalism)
In "Mental Events" (1970) Davidson advanced a form of token identity theory
about the mind: token mental events are identical to token physical events. One
previous difficulty with such a view was that it did not seem feasible to
provide laws relating mental states—for example, believing that the sky is
blue, or wanting a hamburger—to physical states, such as patterns of neural
activity in the brain. Davidson argued that such a reduction would not be
necessary to a token identity thesis: it is possible that each individual
mental event just is the corresponding physical event, without there being laws
relating types (as opposed to tokens) of mental events to types of physical
events. But, Davidson argued, the fact that we could not have such a reduction
does not entail that the mind is anything more than the brain. Hence, Davidson
called his position anomalous monism: monism, because it claims that only one
thing is at issue in questions of mental and physical events; anomalous (from
a-, "not," and omalos, "regular") because mental and physical event types could
not be connected by strict laws (laws without exceptions).
Davidson argued that anomalous monism follows from three plausible theses.
First, he assumes the denial of epiphenomenalism—that is, the denial of the
view that mental events do not cause physical events. Second, he assumes a
nomological view of causation, according to which one event causes another if
(and only if) there is a strict, exceptionless law governing the relation
between the events. Third, he assumes the principle of the anomalism of the
mental, according to which there are no strict laws that govern the
relationship between mental event types and physical event types. By these
three theses, Davidson argued, it follows that the causal relations between the
mental and the physical hold only between mental event tokens, but that mental
events as types are anomalous. This ultimately secures token physicalism and a
supervenience relation between the mental and the physical, while respecting
the autonomy of the mental (Malpas, 2005, §2).
2. Truth and meaning (A justification of the use of certain types of
language--- I think this might mean context-free (finite) language)
In 1967 Davidson published "Truth and Meaning," in which he argued that any
learnable language must be statable in a finite form, even if it is capable of
a theoretically infinite number of expressions—as we may assume that natural
human languages are, at least in principle. If it could not be stated in a
finite way then it could not be learned through a finite, empirical method such
as the way humans learn their languages. It follows that it must be possible to
give a theoretical semantics for any natural language which could give the
meanings of an infinite number of sentences on the basis of a finite system of
axioms. Following, among others, Rudolf Carnap (Introduction to Semantics,
Harvard 1942, 22) Davidson also argued that "giving the meaning of a sentence"
was equivalent to stating its truth conditions, so stimulating the modern work
on truth-conditional semantics. In sum, he proposed that it must be possible to
distinguish a finite number of distinct grammatical features of a language, and
for each of them explain its workings in such a way as to generate trivial
(obviously correct) statements of the truth conditions of all the (infinitely
many) sentences making use of that feature. That is, we can give a finite
theory of meaning for a natural language; the test of its correctness is that
it would generate (if applied to the language in which it was formulated) all
the sentences of the form "'p' is true if and only if p" ("'Snow is white' is
true if and only if snow is white"). (These are called T-sentences: Davidson
derives the idea from Alfred Tarski.)
This work was originally delivered in his John Locke Lectures at Oxford, and
launched a large endeavor by many philosophers to develop Davidsonian
semantical theories for natural language. Davidson himself contributed many
details to such a theory, in essays on quotation, indirect discourse, and
descriptions of action.
3. Knowledge and belief (The difference between 1p and 3p. Also, a
triangulation position on solipsism)
After the 1970s Davidson's philosophy of mind picked up influences from the
work of Saul Kripke, Hilary Putnam, and Keith Donnellan, all of whom had
proposed a number of troubling counter-examples to what can be generally
described as "descriptivist" theories of content. These views, which roughly
originate in Bertrand Russell's Theory of Descriptions, held that the referent
of a name—which object or person that name refers to—is determined by the
beliefs a person holds about that object. Suppose I believe "Aristotle founded
the Lyceum" and "Aristotle taught Alexander the Great." Whom are my beliefs
about? Aristotle, obviously. But why? Russell would say that my beliefs are
about whatever object makes the greatest number of them true. If two people
taught Alexander, but only one founded the Lyceum, then my beliefs are about
the one who did both. Kripke et al. argued that this was not a tenable theory,
and that in fact whom or what a person's beliefs were about was in large part
(or entirely) a matter of how they had acquired those beliefs, and those names,
and how if at all the use of those names could be traced "causally" from their
original referents to the current speaker.
Davidson picked up this theory, and his work in the 1980s dealt with the
problems in relating first-person beliefs to second- and third-person beliefs.
It seems that first person beliefs ("I am hungry") are acquired in very
different ways from third person beliefs (someone else's belief, of me, that
"He is hungry") How can it be that they have the same content?
Davidson approached this question by connecting it with another one: how can
two people have beliefs about the same external object? He offers, in answer, a
picture of triangulation: Beliefs about oneself, beliefs about other people,
and beliefs about the world come into existence jointly.
Many philosophers throughout history had, arguably, been tempted to reduce two
of these kinds of belief and knowledge to the other one: Descartes and Hume
thought that the only knowledge we start with is self-knowledge. Some of the
logical positivists, (and some would say Wittgenstein, or Wilfrid Sellars),
held that we start with beliefs only about the external world. (And arguably
Friedrich Schelling and Emmanuel Levinas held that we start with beliefs only
about other people). It is not possible, on Davidson's view, for a person to
have only one of these three kinds of mental content; anyone who has beliefs of
one of the kinds must have beliefs of the other two kinds."
[Roger Clough], [rclo...@verizon.net]
"Forever is a long time, especially near the end." -Woody Allen
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