Sandro Nannini

L'anomalia del mentale in Donald Davidson

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The structure of Davidson's argument by which he tried to prove the validity of anomalous monism in the 1970 essay "Mental Events" is an elaboration of the argument given in "Actions, Reasons, and Causes" to support the causal character of the explanations of human actions by means of agent's intentions. The hypothesis of physicalism in both essays is the only way to reconcile principles that are all plausible but reciprocally incompatible. Davidson's anomalous monism is, however, a very weak form of physicalism. For according to Davidson every single mental event is identical to a single physical (cerebral) event, although mental events of the same type may be identical to physical events of different types. Davidson tries to show that anomalous monism gives a solution similar to that given by Kant to the problem of the compatibility between human free will and natural determinism. However, Davidson's solution is unconvincing because any distinction between phenomena and noumena is no longer possible if anomalous monism is - as it clearly seems to be - a form of materialism. Moreover Davidson does not manage to respond to many objections raised against anomalous monism.

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