Why Davidson is not a property epiphenomenalist

International Journal of Philosophical Studies 14 (3):407 – 422 (2006)
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Abstract

Despite the fact that Davidson's theory of the causal relata is crucial to his response to the problem of mental causation - that of anomalous monism - it is commonly overlooked within discussions of his position. Anomalous monism is accused of entailing property epiphenomenalism, but given Davidson's understanding of the causal relata, such accusations are wholly misguided. There are, I suggest, two different forms of property epiphenomenalism. The first understands the term 'property' in an ontological sense, the second in a linguistic sense. Anomalous monism cannot plausibly be accused of either. The first cannot legitimately be applied to anomalous monism as it is incompatible with Davidson's ontology. And accusations of predicate epiphenomenalism, although consistent with Davidson's ontology, are ungrounded regarding Davidson's anomalous monism. Philosophers of mind have mislocated the problem with Davidson's anomalous monism, which in fact lies with the implausible theory of the causal relata upon which it rests.

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Sophie Gibb
Durham University

Citations of this work

Mental Causation.David Robb & John Heil - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Anomalous Monism and Mental Causation: A Husserlian Reflection.Chang Liu - forthcoming - Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology:1-26.
Monismo anômalo: uma reconstrução e revisão da literatura.Marcelo Fischborn - 2014 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 18 (1):53-66.

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References found in this work

From a Logical Point of View.W. V. O. Quine - 1953 - Harvard University Press.
A World of States of Affairs.D. Armstrong - 1993 - Philosophical Perspectives 7:429-440.
Truth and Meaning.Donald Davidson - 1967 - Synthese 17 (1):304-323.

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