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The Science Of Human Behaviour Notes

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Science of Human Behaviour 'Mental Events' - Donald Davidson
? Reconciliation of 3 principles (via a token identity theory): o Principle of Causal Interaction: at least some mental events interact causally with physical events (the mental is not a closed system). o Principle of the Nomological Character of Causality: where there is causality, there must be a law: events related as cause and effect fall under strict deterministic laws. o Anomalism of the mental: there are no strict deterministic laws on the basis of which mental events can be predicted and explained.
? Suggests the test of the mental should be (Brentano's) intentionality (and that it doesn't matter if this includes too much).
? An event is mental if and only if it has a mental description or if there is a mental open sentence true of that event alone (assuming the description operator is not primitive)/contains mental vocabulary essentially.
? Mental characteristics supervene on physical characteristics, and this does not entail reducibility.
? "Causality and identity are relations between individual events no matter how described [i.e. in extension]. But laws are linguistic; and so events can instantiate laws, and hence be explained or predicted in the light of laws, only as those events are described in one or another way." o Link between intentionality and intensionality.
? "Beliefs and desires issue in behaviour only as modified and mediated by further beliefs and desires, attitudes and attendings, without limit." o "Clearly this holism of the mental realm is a clue both to the autonomy and to the anomalous character of the mental."
? "Lawlike statements are general statements that support counterfactual and subjunctive claims, and are supported by their instances." o Lawlikeness is a matter of degree, but there are cases beyond debate.
? "[T]he anomalous character of 'All emeralds are grue' shows only that the predicates 'is an emerald' and 'is grue' are not suited to one another: grueness is not an inductive property of emeralds." But it is an inductive property of (e.g.) emerires (examined before t and is an emerald, and otherwise is a sapphire). o 'All emerires are grue' is lawlike. o Homonomic vs. heteronomic generalizations.
? "Just as we cannot intelligibly assign a length to any object unless a comprehensive theory holds of objects of that sort, we cannot intelligibly attribute any propositional attitude to an agent except within the framework of a viable theory of his beliefs, desires, intentions, and decisions." o "It is not merely, as with the measurement of length, that each case tests a theory and depends upon it, but that the content of a propositional attitude derives from its place in the pattern."

"To the extent that we fail to discover a coherent and plausible pattern in the attitudes and actions of others we simply forego the chance of treating them as persons." o "There cannot be tight connections between the realms if each is to retain allegiance to its proper source of evidence." o "[W]hen we use the concepts of belief, desire, and the rest, we must stand prepared, as the evidence accumulates, to adjust our theory in the light of considerations of overall cogency: the constitutive ideal of rationality partly controls each phase in the evolution of what must be an evolving theory."
? "The heteronomic character of general statements linking the mental and the physical traces back to this central role of translation in the description of all propositional attitudes, and to the indeterminacy of translation." o Quine on translation.
? "Suppose m, a mental event, caused p, a physical event; then, under some description m and p instantiate a strict law. This law can only be physical [since strict laws can only occur for closed realms]. But if m falls under a physical law, it has a physical description; which is to say it is a physical event. An analogous argument works when a physical event causes a mental event. So every mental event that is causally related to a physical event is a physical event."
? The anomalism of the mental is a necessary condition for viewing action as autonomous. 'Psychology as Philosophy' - Donald Davidson
? "[A]n event is an action if and only if it can be described in a way that makes it intentional."
? "[E]ven though intentional action, at least from the point of view of description, is by no means all the behaviour there is, intention is conceptually central; the rest is understood and defined in terms of intention."
? "When we attribute a belief, a desire, a goal, an intention or a meaning to an agent, we necessarily operate within a system of concepts in part determined by the structure of beliefs and desires of the agent himself. Short of changing the subject, we cannot escape this feature of the psychological; but this feature has no counterpart in the world of physics."
? "Explanation by reasons avoids coping with the complexity of causal factors by singling out one, something it is able to do by omitting to provide, within the theory, a clear test of when the antecedent conditions hold."
? "Just as the satisfaction of the conditions for measuring length or mass may be viewed as constitutive of the range of application of the sciences that employ these measures, so the satisfaction of conditions of consistency and rational coherence may be viewed as constitutive of the range of applications of such concepts as those of belief, desire, intention and action."
? "Since psychological phenomena do not constitute a closed system, this amounts to saying they are not, even in theory, amenable to precise prediction or subsumption under deterministic laws. The limit thus placed on the social sciences is set not by nature, but by o

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