Quotations From DONALD DAVIDSON


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  • Even if someone knew the entire physical history of the world, and every mental event were identical with a physical, it would not follow that he could predict or explain a single mental event (so described, of course).
    Donald Davidson (b. 1917), U.S. philosopher of language. Essays on Actions and Events, p. 224 (1980). On the separateness of mental and physical language.

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  • Conceptual relativism is a heady and exotic doctrine, or would be if we could make good sense of it. The trouble is, as so often in philosophy, it is hard to improve intelligibility while retaining the excitement.
    Donald Davidson (b. 1917), U.S. philosopher. Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation, p. 183, Oxford University Press (1984).
  • If we cannot find a way to interpret the utterances and other behavior of a creature as revealing a set of beliefs largely consistent and true by our standards, we have no reason to count that creature as rational, as having beliefs, or as saying anything.
    Donald Davidson (b. 1917), U.S. philosopher of language. Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation, p. 137 (1984). Basis for the author's "principle of charity."
  • Conceptual relativism is a heady and exotic doctrine, or would be if we could make good sense of it. The trouble is, as so often in philosophy, it is hard to improve intelligibility while retaining the excitement.
    Donald Davidson (b. 1917), U.S. philosopher of language. "The Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme," p. 183, Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation (1984). Beginning of the author's attack on the "third dogma of empiricism"Mthe dogma of the conceptual scheme.
  • Mental events such as perceivings, rememberings, decisions, and actions resist capture in the net of physical theory.
    Donald Davidson (b. 1917), U.S. professor of philosophy (Berkeley, Chicago, Rockefeller, Princeton, and Stanford). also in Experience and Theory, ed. Lawrence Foster and J. W. Swanson, p. 79. University of Massachusetts Press (1970). "Mental Events," Essays on Actions and Events, p. 207, Clarendon Press (1980).
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