[hist-analytic] Is empiricism an empirical theory?
Baynesr at comcast.net
Baynesr at comcast.net
Sat Sep 18 07:25:28 EDT 2010
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From: Jlsperanza at aol.com
To: hist-analytic at simplelists.co.uk
Sent: Friday, September 17, 2010 8:35:33 PM
Subject: Re: Is empiricism an empirical theory?
Short point on Davidson and laws. It is quite consistent to argue a one to one functional dependency of mental events (historical events, etc.) on physical events. It is not unreasonable to believe that there are in this sense only physical events. ("monism") but it is a very different thing to maintain that there are laws correlating such events. This is what is anomalous about "monism." You have the single substance, physical substance, but no laws to relate them.
Keep in mind that a monist may not be a nominalist. Parminides is, in a sense, a monist but not a nominalist. Spinoza is, in a sense, a monist but not a nominalist. The historicist of my stripe will acknowledge processes irreducible to physical processes AND impossible to relate in a lawlike fashion. The nub of the controversy as I see it will be the difference between reasons and causes.
Now, Bayne's take on 'laws' (I prefer the adjective 'nomological' -- it is
SO pretentious!) reminds me of Davidson, who was, of course 'anomalous'. I
wonder if Bayne may care to comment about that!
Here some remarks about 'anomalous' as used by Davidson ("anomalous monism"
in the wiki entry):
"the mental is anomalous, i.e. ... mental events are not regulated by
strict physical laws."
1. "The principle of causal interaction: there exist both
mental-to-physical as well as physical-to-mental causal interactions."
2. "The principle of the nomological character of causality: all events are
causally related through strict laws."
3. "The principle of the anomalism of the mental: there are no
psycho-physical laws which relate the mental and the physical as just that, mental and
"The principle of the nomological character of causality (or cause-law
principle) requires that events be covered by so-called strict laws. Davidson
originally assumed the validity of this principle but, in more recent years,
he felt the need to provide a logical justification for it. So what is a
"[T]he mental cannot be linked up with the physical in a chain of
psycho-physical laws such that mental events can be predicted and explained on the
basis of such laws.
"Since Davidson believes that mental events are causally efficacious (i.e.
he rejects epiphenomenalism), then it must be a mental event as such
(mental properties of mental events) which are the causally relevant properties."
Davidson, D. (1970) "Mental Events", in Actions and Events, Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1980.
Davidson, D. (1993) "Thinking Causes", in J. Heil and A. Mele (eds) Mental
Causation, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Honderich, T. (1982) "The Argument for Anomalous Monism", Analysis
Honderich, T. (1984) "Smith and the Champion of Mauve", Analysis 44:86-89.
Fano, V. (1992) "Olismi non convergenti" (Non-convergent holisms) in Dell
Utri, Massimo (ed). Olismo, Quodlibet. 1992.
 Further reading
GRICE, "Method in philosophical psychology: from the banal to the bizarre"
(repr. in "Conception of Value")
----- "Actions and Events" Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
Child, W. (1993) "Anomalism, Uncodifiability, and Psychophysical
Relations", Philosophical Review 102: 215-45.
Davidson, D. (1973) "The Material Mind", in Actions and Events, Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1980.
Davidson, D. (1974) "Psychology as Philosophy", in Actions and Events,
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980.
Davidson, D. (1995) "Donald Davidson", in S. Guttenplan (ed.) A Companion
to the Philosophy of Mind, Oxford: Blackwell.
Ducasse, C.J. (1926) "On the Nature and Observability of the Causal
Relation", Journal of Philosophy 23:57-68.
Honderich, T. (1981) "Psychophysical Lawlike Connections and their
Problem", Inquiry 24: 277-303.
Kim, J. (1985) "Psychophysical Laws", in E. LePore and B.P. McLaughlin
(eds) Actions and Events: Perspectives on the Philosophy of Donald Davidson,
LePore, E. and McLaughlin, B.P. (1985) Actions and Events: Perspectives on
the Philosophy of Donald Davidson, Oxford: Blackwell.
McLaughlin, B.P. (1985) "Anomalous Monism and the Irreducibility of the
Mental", in E. LePore and B.P. McLaughlin (eds) Actions and Events:
Perspectives on the Philosophy of Donald Davidson, Oxford: Blackwell.
Stanton, W.L. (1983) "Supervenience and Psychological Law in Anomalous Moni
sm", Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 64: 72-9.
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