<history of philosophy, biography> american philosopher (1917-) who, like Quine, applies the methods of logical and linguistic analysis to the study of human nature. On Davidson's view, interpretation of a language should always be governed by a "principle of charity" that maximizes its true statements. Although he regards mental events as irreducibly intentional and denies the possibility of psycho-physical laws, Davidson defends a sophisticated identity theory ("anomalous monism") under which every mental event supervenes upon some physical event, subject to the usual physical laws of nature, even though it cannot be fully described in purely physical terms. Many of Davidson's most influential essays are collected in Essays on Actions and Events (1980) and Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation (1984). Recommended Reading: Simon Evnine, Donald Davidson (Stanford, 1991); The Philosophy of Donald Davidson, ed. by Lewis Edwin Hahn (Open Court, 1999); Donald Davidson: Truth, Meaning, and Knowledge, ed. by Urszula M. Zeglen (Routledge, 1999); and Interpretations and Causes: New Perspectives on Donald Davidson's Philosophy, ed. by Mario De Caro (Kluwer, 1999).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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