Publication details for Dr Sophie GibbGibb SC (2006). Why Davidson is not a Property Epiphenomenalist. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 14(3): 407-422.
- Publication type: Journal papers: academic
- ISSN/ISBN: 0967-2559, 1466-4542
- DOI: 10.1080/09672550600858346
- Keywords: Davidson, Ephiphenomenalism, Mental Causation, Property
- View online: Online version
- Durham research online: DRO record
Author(s) from Durham
Despite the fact that Davidson’s theory of the causal relata is crucial to his
response to the problem of mental causation — that of anomalous monism — it is
commonly overlooked within discussions of his position. Anomalous monism is
accused of entailing property epiphenomenalism, but given Davidson’s
understanding of the causal relata such accusations are wholly misguided.
There are, I suggest, two different forms of property epiphenomenalism. The
first understands the term ‘property’ in an ontological sense, the second in a
linguistic sense. Anomalous monism cannot plausibly be accused of either. The
first cannot legitimately be applied to anomalous monism, as it is incompatible
with Davidson’s ontology. And accusations of predicate epiphenomenalism,
although consistent with Davidson’s ontology, are ungrounded regarding
Davidson’s anomalous monism. Philosophers of mind have mis-located the problem
with Davidson’s anomalous monism, which in fact lies with the implausible
theory of the causal relata upon which it rests.
The paper appears in a special issue on Davidson.