The American Philosopher: Conversations with Quine, Davidson, Putnam, Nozick, Danto, Rorty, Cavell, MacIntyre, and Kuhn

By Rosanna Crocitto; Giovanna Borradori | Go to book overview

2
Post-Analytic Visions Donald Davidson

The charm of philosopher Donald Davidson lies in the rigor of his research, a work of patient and creative deconstruction dedicated for more than thirty years to that language, half analytic and half post-analytic, that is at the base of the work of Willard Van Orman Quine. The Harvard campus, located only a few miles from Springfield, where he was born in 1917, was the scene of the meeting between the young Davidson and Quine, master and never-ceasing friend of intellectual challenge. It was the dawn of the Second World War, during which Davidson, like Quine, decided to sign up as volunteer in the Navy, serving from 1942 to 1945.

After the war, in Quine's seminars, Davidson learned of a new thematic horizon of philosophy that, under the guidance of the late Alfred North Whitehead, had until then been identified in a terrain very close to the history of ideas. His thesis on Plato Philebus bears witness to this first phase, which nonetheless left not a few traces in his subsequent work as a post-analytic philosopher.

The operation conducted by Davidson on the theoretical horizon opened by Quine reveals itself in a series of essays that have been collected in two volumes: in 1980, under the title Essays on Actions and Events, and in 1984, as Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation. In its basic intention, Davidson's work can be defined as the attempt to include in the singularly "perceptive" universe of empiricism the ethical and linguistic question of intersubjectivity. As Richard Rorty has observed, Davidson has preserved the logic from Quine's logical empiricism while abandoning the empiricism. Put another way, this

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The American Philosopher: Conversations with Quine, Davidson, Putnam, Nozick, Danto, Rorty, Cavell, MacIntyre, and Kuhn
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