Donald Davidson

Davidson, Donald Herbert

Donald Herbert Davidson, 1917–2003, American philosopher, b. Springfield, Mass., grad. Harvard (B.A., 1939; Ph.D., 1949). A student of W. V. Quine, Davidson emerged as one of the major figures in post–World War II analytic philosophy. His early work in the theory of decision-making was followed by that in which he argued that reasons can be the causes of human actions. Davidson subsequently developed a philosophy of language, a central tenet of which is that knowing the meaning of a sentence is a matter of knowing the conditions under which it is true. Davidson's views on language and mind led him to reject both scepticism and conceptual relativism, i.e., the idea that human beings can possess radically divergent conceptual schemes such that some cannot, in principle, be translated into others. Davidson taught at a number of universities, including Stanford, Princeton, Chicago, and Berkeley. His works include Essays on Actions and Events (1980), Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation (1984), and Subjective, Intersubjective, Objective (2001).

See studies by E. Lepore, ed. (1986); S. Evnine (1991); G. Preyer et al., ed., (1994).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Donald Davidson: A Short Introduction
Kathrin Glüer.
Oxford University Press, 2011
Subjective, Intersubjective, Objective
Donald Davidson.
Clarendon Press, 2001
Essays on Actions and Events
Donald Davidson.
Clarendon Press, 1980
Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation
Donald Davidson.
Clarendon Press, 1984
Problems of Rationality
Donald Davidson.
Clarendon, 2004
Truth, Language and History
Donald Davidson.
Clarendon Press, 2005
From Kant to Davidson: Philosophy and the Idea of the Transcendental
Jeff Malpas.
Routledge, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 12 "Davidson's Transcendental Argumentation"
Radical Interpretation in Religion
Nancy K. Frankenberry.
Cambridge University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Radical Interpretation and Pragmatism: Davidson, Rorty, and Brandom on Truth"
Act & Quality: A Theory of Literary Meaning and Humanistic Understanding
Charles Altieri.
University of Massachusetts Press, 1981
Librarian’s tip: "Three Basic Problems in Defining What an Action Is and Donald Davidson's Way of Handling Them" begins on p. 102
Donald Davidson: Meaning, Truth, Language, and Reality
Ernie Lepore; Kirk Ludwig.
Clarendon Press, 2005
Literary Theory after Davidson
Reed Way Dasenbrock.
Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993
Quine and Davidson on Language, Thought, and Reality
Hans-Johann Glock.
Cambridge University Press, 2003
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