Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Essays on Actions and Events$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Donald Davidson

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199246274

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199246270.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 20 October 2018

The Material Mind

The Material Mind

Chapter:
(p.245) 13 The Material Mind
Source:
Essays on Actions and Events
Author(s):

Donald Davidson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199246270.003.0013

This essay continues the question from Essay 12 on the nature of psychology as a science, except that it engages hypothetically with a very precise knowledge of the physical workings of the mind. If we succeed in building a physical machine that perfectly imitates human behaviour, we can predict its behaviour on the sole basis of purely physical terms; nevertheless, to the extent that psychological explanations appeal to the concepts of desire, belief, and intention, they remain definitionally irreducible to such predictions (Essay 11, Essay 12). Inversely, regardless of how well advanced our neurophysiology is, it would provide no shortcut to the kind of interpretation required for the application of psychological concepts. After explaining at length what the application of those key concepts involves, Davidson stresses that their definitional irreducibility does not threaten a materialist metaphysics, provided we are willing to settle for a non‐reductive variety (see Essay 11).

Keywords:   antireductionism, behaviour, definitional reduction, desire and belief, intention, psychology as science

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .