In his ground-breaking essay entitled ‘Mental Events’, Donald Davidson introduces his theory of Anomalous Monism. Anomalous Monism attempts to secure the causal efficacy of mental events, while at the same time agreeing that causality only happens between law-abiding physical events. Numerous respondents suggest that Davidson’s theory renders the mental causally inert. In a later paper, Davidson responds to his critics by clarifying his theory. This clarification successfully demonstrates how the mental has causal efficacy, but it also invokes two significant consequences. First of all, it calls into question the nomological nature of causality. This consequence can be alleviated by suggesting that causal explanations are nomological, rather than causality itself. Secondly, his clarification gives rise to explanatory epiphenomenalism. This consequence is not dire either, for it merely asserts the benign fact that the world will do what it does regardless of how humans describe it.
|Keywords:||Donald Davidson, Mental Causation, Anomalous Monism, Epiphenomenalism, Causation, Explanation|
Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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