Davidson Theory Of Anomalous Monism Essay

859 Words4 Pages
Thoughts have consequences. Not in the sense that my mind can telepathically bend the spoon I have in my hand. Thoughts simply cause us to act in a certain fashion. After I have formed the intention to bend my spoon, I exert enough pressure on both sides of the spoon in order to create a curvature. Thoughts cause actions and actions bring about changes in the world. Is this picture of mental causation really any less mysterious than telepathy, though? Arguably, all it does is shift what needs to be explained. The bending of the spoon is caused by certain motions of my hands. These motions are themselves caused by my intention. But how is this possible without the mind breaking into the physical world as if by magic? How can intangible mental entities bring about physical consequences?
Donald Davidson 's theory of anomalous monism is one attempt to explain exactly that. On the one hand, anomalous monism states that every mental event is identical with some physical event. So, because every mental event is at the same time a physical event, there is no magic needed to explain its causal influence. My intention to bend my spoon is identical to some physical event, presumably located in my
…show more content…
For ever since its inception anomalous monism has received far more criticism than praise. The criticism can roughly be divided into three strands. The first strand concerns the soundness of Davidson 's argument for anomalous monism. Two of the premises Davidson assumes are especially controversial. One requires that for every causal interaction, there exists a strict law of nature covering that interaction. Davidson does not seem to have much evidence to back up this claim. The other controversial premise states no true strict laws contains mental types. Davidson 's reasons for distinguishing the mental and the nomological are generally regarded as mystifying. And many of those who think they do understand them, regard them as
Open Document