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Davidson, Donald - Problems of Rationality (Clarendon)(eBook-Philosophy-English)

Davidson, Donald - Problems of Rationality (Clarendon)(eBook-Philosophy-English)

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Donald DavidsonProblems of Rationality
Provenance of the Essays and Acknowledgmentsix Introductionxiii 
Marcia Cavell 
 Rationality and Value
 1 1. The Problem of Objectivity (1995)3 2. Expressing Evaluations (1984)19 3. The Objectivity of Values (1995)39 
: Objectivity and Practical Reason (2000)52 4. The Interpersonal Comparison of Values (1986)59 
 Problems and Proposals
 75 5. Turing's Test (1990)77 6. Representation and Interpretation (1990)87 7. Problems in the Explanation of Action (1987)101 8. Could There Be a Science of Rationality? (1995)117 9. What Thought Requires (2001)135 10. A Unified Theory of Thought, Meaning, and Action (1980)151 
 167 11. Paradoxes of Irrationality (1982)169 12. Incoherence and Irrationality (1985)189 13. Deception and Division (1986)199 14. Who is Fooled? (1997)213 
end p.
viiAn Interview with Donald Davidson231
 Ernie Lepore
 Contents List of Volumes of Essays267
 Donald Davidson
end p.
Provenance of the Essays and Acknowledgments
Essay 1, 'The Problem of Objectivity', was published in
Tijdschrift voor Filosofie
(Leuven, June 1995), 203-20.Essay 2, 'Expressing Evaluations', was delivered as the Lindley Lecture and published as a Lindley Lecture monograph atthe University of Kansas, 1984.Essay 3, 'The Objectivity of Values', was first published in
 El Trabajo Filosófico de Hoy en el Continente
, edited byCarlos Gutiérrez (Bogatá, Editorial ABC, 1995), 59-69. Translated into Serbo-Croatian by D. ö. Mileusni
, it was later publishedin
 Belgrade Circle
, 1-2 (1995), 177-88, both in English and Serbo-Croatian.Essay 4, 'The Interpersonal Comparison of Values', is a slightly altered version of 'Judging Interpersonal Interests', published in
 Foundations of Social Choice Theory
, edited by J. Elster and A. Hylland (Cambridge University Press, 1986), 195-211.Essay 5, 'Turing's Test', was published in
Modelling the Mind 
, edited by W. H. Newton-Smith and K. V. Wilkes (OxfordUniversity Press, 1990), 1-11.Essay 6, 'Representation and Interpretation', was published in
Modelling the Mind 
, edited by W. H. Newton-Smith and K.V. Wilkes (Oxford University Press, 1990), 13-26.Essay 7, 'Problems in the Explanation of Action', was published in
Metaphysics and Morality: Essays in Honour of J. J.C. Smart 
, edited by P. Pettit, R. Sylvan, and J. Norman (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987), 35-49.
end p.
ixEssay 8, 'Could There Be a Science of Rationality?', was first published in
 International Journal of Philosophical Studies
,3 (1995), 1-16. Translated into Spanish by A. Nudler and S. Romaniuk, it was published in
 La Rationalidad: Su Poder y sus Limites
, edited by O. Nudler (Buenos Aires: Paidós, 1996), 273-93.Essay 9, 'What Thought Requires', was first published in
The Foundations of Cognitive Science
, edited by J. Branquinho(Oxford University Press, 2001), 121-32. Translated into Chinese by Whi-Chuan Fang, it was reprinted in
, 1 1(2003).
Essay 10, 'A Unified Theory of Thought, Meaning, and Action', was first published as 'Toward a Unified Theory of Meaning and Action' in
Grazer Philosophische Studien
, 11 (1980), 1-12. It was subsequently published in
 Essays on Truth, Language and Mind 
, edited and translated into Polish by B. Stanosz (Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1992).Essay 11, 'Paradoxes of Irrationality', was first published in
 Philosophical Essays on Freud 
, edited by R. Wollheim and J.Hopkins (Cambridge University Press, 1982), 289-305. It was published in Serbo-Croatian in
itanje Frojda
, edited byO. Savi
, who also translated the essay (Belgrade: IIC SSO Srbije, 1988). Translated into French by Pascal Engel, it was publishedin
 Paradoxes de L'Irrationalité 
(Combas: Éditions de L'Éclat, 1991). Translated into German by G. Grünkorn, it was published in
Motive, Gründe, Zwecke: Theorien praktischer Rationalität 
, edited by S. Gosepath (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer TaschenbuchVerlag, 1999), 209-31. A precursor of this paper was delivered as the Ernest Jones Lecture before the British PsyohoanalyticAssociation on April 26, 1978.Essay 12, 'Incoherence and Irrationality', was presented at the Entretiens between Oxford and the Institut International dePhilosophie, 3-9 September 1984. It was published in
, 39 (1985), 345-54.Essay 13, 'Deception and Division', was first published in
The Multiple Self 
, edited by J. Elster (Cambridge UniversityPress, 1986), 79-92. It was reprinted in
 Actions and Events: Perspectives on the Philosophy of Donald Davidson
, edited by E.LePore and B. McLaughlin (Oxford: Blackwell, 1985), 138-48. Translated into French by P. Engel, it was published in
 Paradoxesde L'Irrationalité 
(Combas: Éditions de L'Éclat, 1991). It was published in Spanish
end p.
Mente, Mundo y Acción
(Barcelona: Ediciones Paidós, 1992). Translated into Serbo-Croatian by Z. Lazovi
, it was published in
ki Ogledi
(Belgrade: Radionica Sic, Edicija Teorija, 1995).Essay 14, 'Who is Fooled?', was published in
Self-Deception and Paradoxes of Rationality
, edited by J.-P. Dupuy(Stanford, Calif.: CSLI, 1997), 15-27.
end p.
 This volume of essays has been virtually ready for publication for three years. In the summer of 2000, Ernie LePore came to Berkeley to stay with us for a week. Except for walks in the hills, meals, anexcursion or two, Ernie LePore and my husband spent the entire time going through his unpublished essays,deciding which ones to keep, and how to place and order them in the forthcoming volumes of collectedessays. They put together Volumes 3, 4, and 5 at that time. Ernie and I thought the volumes were ready to go.But Donald never let things out of his hand for publication until he had taken them as far as he thought hecould. He was clearly not ready to let the last two volumes of collected essays escape just yet. He diedunexpectedly before he had made the final changes and written an Introduction.At my request, immediately after Donald died Ernie came to Berkeley for three days. He helped melocate the essays and the volumes and make a number of preliminary arrangements. But there was a bit leftto be done. When Ernie left, Arpy Khatchirian, who has been of enormous help to me, and I were not inevery case sure which of several versions of an essay was the 'final' one. Then what little idea I had of thechanges Donald might have made came from sets of comments Arpy and I had independently given him andthat Donald had kept among the papers but had not incorporated into the text. All the changes we suggestedwere minor. Some he clearly would have accepted; with a few others I had to make a judgment call. And of course there may have been many changes he would have made had he been given the time. There is someoverlap in the essays, but except for exact duplications (noted at the end of Essay 3), Donald might well havewanted the overlap to remain.Donald's Introduction to Volume 3,
Subjective, Intersubjective, Objective
, begins with a paragraphstating the themes that connect
end p.
xiiithe essays. He follows this with a brief paragraph on each of them individually. I have taken this asmy model here. Many of these essays I knew well, and Donald and I had discussed them; all, I had at leastheard him give. The Introduction is of course in my words. (In two cases Donald preceded the essay with asummary, as required by the publication in which the essay appeared. I have incorporated these summariesinto my introductions.) I may have made errors of emphasis, even of content.I am grateful beyond words to Ernie LePore. My thanks also to Branden Fitelson, who read those of Donald's essays that draw on decision theory (essays 2, 8, and 10), suggesting a few changes in my own paragraphs in the Introduction; and, once again, to Arpy Khatchirian.
The essays in this volume take up some of the implications of the theory of meaning that Davidsonlaid out in the first three volumes of his collected essays. All the implications concern various aspects of rationality, some degree of which Davidson's theory of 
radical interpretation
attributes to any creature thatcan be said to have a mind.The first group of essays,
 Rationality and Value
, carries Davidson's thesis about the sense in whichour interpretations of another person's mental states and actions can bring objectivity into the realm of values: value judgments, and our understanding of them, he argues, are as objective as any judgments aboutthe mind can be. (Davidson's title for this section was simply
. My proposal to change it to
 Rationality and Value
was among the notes I found with his manuscript.)
 Problems and Proposals
, the second part, is primarily concerned with what the minimal conditionsare for attributing mental states to an object (say a computer) or creature. Several of these essays developDavidson's Unified Theory for interpreting thought, meaning, and action, a theory that draws on certainforms of decision theory.The third part,
, grapples with the problems raised by those thoughts and actions thatseem in a fundamental way to violate the constraints of rationality. Since these constraints are, according toDavidson, among the necessary conditions both for mind and interpretation, irrationality poses a peculiar  puzzle.
end p.
 Essay 1
, 'The Problem of Objectivity', points out that the traditional (Cartesian) idea that allknowledge is based on data given to the individual mind runs together two problems. One asks how we can justify belief in a world independent of our minds. The other, which lies behind this epistemological problem, asks how we come to have an idea of an objective reality in the first place. This is an interesting,neglected, and difficult question; shedding light on it has long been, and in this volume continues to be, oneof Davidson's chief projects. In this essay he is at pains to distinguish the many abilities that we and other creatures have to move around in the world successfully and to make discriminations essential to our livesfrom those more specific activities that require thought. Thought requires, Davidson argues, that the creaturehave the concept of error, of making a mistake
by the creature's own lights
. Only if it has the concept of error can it be said to have any other concepts. The concepts of objective reality and truth are presumptions of thought itself, so of the ability to raise Cartesian doubts. If this is right,
skeptical claims are simplyunintelligible.Though he begins, like Descartes, with the fact of thought, Davidson argues for a total revision of theCartesian picture. All propositional thought, positive or skeptical, of the inner or of the outer, requires possession of the concept of objective truth, and this concept is accessible only to those creatures that are incommunication with others. Knowledge of other minds is thus basic to all thought. But such knowledgerequires and assumes knowledge of a shared world of objects in a common time and space. Thus theacquisition of knowledge is not based on a progression from the subjective to the objective; it emergesholistically, and is interpersonal from the start.
 Essay 2
, 'Expressing Evaluations', brings the attitude of the interpreter—Davidson's strategy for atheory of meaning in general—to the issue of evaluative judgments. Just as the questions of belief andmeaning are entwined, so are belief, meaning, and valuing, where valuing includes attitudes like desire.Though interpretation is always a holistic act in which the interpreter weighs a speaker's attitudes againsteach other so as to render them largely intelligible, or rational, by the interpreter's lights, Davidson arguesthat desire is the most basic attitude in this interpretive process. The thrust of the essay is that understandinganother presumes a shared body of evaluations as well as beliefs.
end p.
 Essay 3
draws out one of the implications of Essay 2: values are as objective as beliefs, sinceinterpreting another requires a common framework of belief, desire, and valuation, within which, and onlywithin which, disagreement about values becomes possible. The denial that values are objective should not be confused with relativism: of course what is valuable or right is relative to time, place, local custom, and soon. This is not in itself a denial of the objectivity of values; rather, it spells out what the interpreter mustcome to understand about the other in order to know whether they disagree or not. Nor should objectivism

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