We start with the plausible assumption that some mental events, such as believing that it is raining, are caused by certain physical events, in this case the rain. Davidson calls this the Principle of Causal Interaction; we shall call it the interaction principle: The Interaction Principle: Some mental events causally interact with some physical events Davidson presents this assumption as obvious and not in need of justification, but we shall see that motivations for it can be found in parts of his writings 2. To this interaction principle is added the requirement that all singular causal interactions are covered by strict laws—laws with fully articulated antecedents which guarantee some fully articulated consequence for caveats and details, see 3. Davidson calls this the Principle of the Nomological Character of Causality; we shall call it the cause-law principle: The Cause-Law Principle: Events related as cause and effect are covered by strict laws This cause-law principle was also initially assumed without argument by Davidson, though we shall see below 3.
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Related Views There are a number of philosophers and traditions that share the two key features of Anomalous Monism: its rejection of any reductive relationship between mental and physical events and properties, and its assertion of monism. In this section, we look briefly at one classic precursor to Anomalous Monism as well as several more recently developed positions that share these features.
The comparisons help to shed further light on Anomalous Monism. At the most general level, one distinctive component of Anomalous Monism is its a priori status. It is deduced logically from what are plausibly claimed to be a relatively bland set of assumptions themselves not clearly empirical in nature, and each, individually, acceptable to dualist ontological positions.
Certainly the anomalism principle is not empirical. While the cause-law principle has been claimed to be an empirical, and false, assumption Cartwright —see 3. The interaction principle does not appear to be based upon empirical assumptions. This a priori status sets Anomalous Monism apart from other forms of nonreductive monism that have been developed since Anomalous Monism was formulated.
We begin with him. There are thus no strict psychophysical laws. But there are both strict physical and strict psychological laws. First, while Spinoza does indeed deny that there can be explanatory relations between the mental and the physical, his notion of explanation is quite demanding. Davidson happily concedes that no such relation exists between mental and physical properties and events.
But he denies that one need impose such a strong requirement on causation and causal explanation. Second, and related to this, Davidson insists that while explanation is, intuitively, an intensional notion—one sensitive to how events are described—causation is extensional, obtaining between pairs of events independently of how they are described.
As we have seen 1 , 6—6. Some interpreters of Spinoza, explicitly considering the question of his relation to Anomalous Monism, have denied that Spinoza would or should accept such an extensional account of causation see Della Rocca and Jarrett Davidson accepts that Spinoza himself probably had in mind the opaque concept, in keeping with historical tradition, but that nothing stands in the way of his accepting a needed transparent concept as well.
According to Davidson, what Spinoza is really committed to is denying the possibility of a fully adequate complete explanation of the occurrence of the awareness by appeal to the laws of nature and the cause described in physical terms. This does not preclude holding that the ringing of the bell may cause us to be aware of the ringing. Since the physical domain is governed by strict laws, this would entail the possibility indeed, necessity of strict, purely psychological laws.
Just as events described physically would have a fully adequate explanation in terms of strict physical laws and initial conditions, so too would events described mentally need to have a fully adequate explanation in terms of strict mental laws and initial mental conditions. Every physical event has a fully adequate strict physical explanation, but no mental event can have a fully adequate strict mental explanation.
Davidson claims, to the contrary, that Anomalous Monism, with its denial of strict psychophysical and psychological laws, is a key necessary condition of freedom see Related Issues: 3. Anomalous Monism and Freedom. Functionalism Functionalist accounts of mental phenomena for a good overview, see Block were the most prominent of the nonreductionist monist positions developed at around the same time as Anomalous Monism. Beliefs differ from desires, for instance, in the role that each plays in mediating the relations between perceptual inputs, behavioral outputs and other intervening psychological states.
To believe something is just to be in a state that exhibits such a distinctive causal pattern. It is not relevant what realizes such a functional state, however, just so long as it is the sort of realizing media that can support such a pattern. Associated with functionalism was the doctrine of multiple realizability: mental properties can, in practice as well as principle, be realized by a variety of media which do not share anything in common physically other than a capacity to support the distinctive pattern Fodor Other species, with different internal wiring, can realize mental properties, and in principle so could extraterrestrial beings.
Mental properties therefore cannot be reduced to physical properties because of this heterogeneous nature of the realizing physical media. However at least according to most proponents of functionalism—see Lewis , some physical media must play the realizing role—hence, monism. Functionalism therefore differs from Anomalous Monism in appealing to multiple realizability rather than rationality as the ground for irreducibility.
There are other important differences as well. Indeed, some functionalists explicitly observe that their account is consistent with dualism see Block Another key difference is that traditional functionalism has built into it a kind of reductionism, though not of the type-type variety.
This comes out in the fact that the inputs and outputs between which the functional states are supposed to play their mediating role are typically required to be characterized in non-intentional terms. For instance, intending to stay dry would be partially defined not in terms of perceiving that it is raining and subsequently opening an umbrella, but instead in terms of something like sensory stimulations and mere bodily movements.
Indeed, many functionalists claim to provide an analysis of mental properties in other, non-mental terms. Brian Loar Loar , 20—25 sees his functionalist account as a direct refutation of Anomalous Monism, purporting to account for the rational nature of mental states and events within a reductionist framework see 4.
But whether or not all functionalists view their accounts in these terms, it nonetheless appears that the nonreductionism of functionalism is of a vertical but not horizontal nature, so to speak. Mental properties cannot be reduced to their realizing physical properties because of multiple realizability , but there will be strict lawlike generalizations the distinctive patterns that purport to define mental properties in non-mental terms—causal relations to non-mentally characterized inputs, outputs and other functional states.
Another point on which functionalism diverges from Anomalous Monism is in its attempt to account not only for the propositional attitudes—belief, desire, intention, etc. These wider aspirations have, however, proven to be especially problematic for functionalism. A standard objection has been that while the propositional attitudes may be given a plausible analysis in terms of casual patterns, the felt quality of sentient states and events cannot be analyzed in purely causal terms without losing touch with what is distinctive about such phenomena Nagel ; Chalmers ; see Section 4 below.
Many of the same questions that arose in our examination of Anomalous Monism—in particular, concerning supervenience and mental causation—arise also in discussions of functionalism.
Indeed, these questions arise for any property dualist monism—any theory on which mental and physical properties are thought of as distinct and irreducible but instantiated by the same set of states, events or substances.
A more nuanced formulation of the principle also amenable to physicalists would respect those points by selecting, from the full set of realizing causal powers, those that actually play an explanatory role relative to particular effect-types. Such a formulation of the principle would not clearly lead to the reductionist conclusion pressed by Kim, yet would retain a physicalist ontology and also respect the insights of the dual explananda approach.
Bare Materialism Another version of nonreductive monism, put forward in different ways by Hornsby , , , Leder and McDowell , rejects the token-identity of Anomalous Monism and replaces it with a blander, bare materialist doctrine of substance monism. As we have already seen 5. McDowell sees this requirement as an overreaction to the threat of Cartesian dualism.
McDowell , This view is essentially shared by Hornsby and Leder, each of whom questions both the intelligibility of attaching precise spatiotemporal parameters to mental events, and the purported necessity of doing so, in order to maintain a materialist position. McDowell and Hornsby subsequently come to question the cause-law principle, which, when appended to the interaction and anomalism principles both of which are accepted by McDowell and Hornsby leads to the token-identity thesis they question.
We have already seen that Davidson later came to weaken his early claim regarding uniquely identifying strict law descriptions for mental events. So the rationale for bare materialism, as an alternative to Anomalous Monism, seems less compelling. With respect to bare materialism taken on its own, it is also unclear what its rationale is for asserting materialism, even one of this minimalist variety, which focuses on substances the person or perhaps the body rather than events undergone by substances.
One virtue of Anomalous Monism is that it provides a justification for its form of materialism. It is also not clear how mental events, when thought of as not describable in the language of physics, can be held to interact with events describable in physical language. Here concerns with a lineage going back to the earliest critics of Descartes, such as Pierre Gassendi and Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, again rear their heads: if physical but not mental events which supposedly interact have precise spatiotemporal locations, how can events of such different kinds causally interact, and where is the locus of interaction?
These questions are just as pressing for proponents of minimal materialism who reject token-identities of mental and physical events.
As discussed in 5. Other Positions Various other nonreductive monist positions have been developed that are motivated by concerns very different than those of Anomalous Monism. These positions raise issues that go beyond what can be addressed here, but some are worth noting.
As observed above, one motivation derives from concerns with sentient phenomena—whether, given distinctive properties attaching to conscious states and events, they can be explained in terms of underlying physical states and events. Proponents of these views deny that such an explanation is possible, and subsequently assert various forms of property dualism together with a substance monism see Chalmers And another nonreductive monist position has been motivated by appeal to a semantic thesis concerning how mental contents of propositional attitudes are determined.
Others emphasize social factors, such as the role that experts play in constituting norms of usage for concepts to which laypeople defer. Some proponents of this view conclude that the attitudes in which these contents figure cannot be held to be token-identical to underlying physical states of those agents, even though all states and events may indeed be physical in some other sense Burge , Davidson a has forcefully argued, against this view, that the token-identity theory of mind is consistent with semantic externalism.
Donald Davidson: Anomalous Monism
Anomalous monism explained Anomalous monism is a philosophical thesis about the mind—body relationship. It was first proposed by Donald Davidson in his paper "Mental Events". The theory is twofold and states that mental event s are identical with physical events, and that the mental is anomalous, i. Hence, Davidson proposes an identity theory of mind without the reductive bridge laws associated with the type-identity theory. Overview Considering views about the relation between the mental and the physical as distinguished first by whether or not mental entities are identical with physical entities, and second by whether or not there are strict psychophysical laws, we arrive at a fourfold classification: 1 nomological monism, which says there are strict correlating laws, and that the correlated entities are identical this is usually called type physicalism ; 2 nomological dualism, which holds that there are strict correlating laws, but that the correlated entities are not identical parallelism , property dualism and pre-established harmony ; 3 anomalous dualism, which holds there are no laws correlating the mental and the physical, that the substances are ontologically distinct, but nevertheless there is interaction between them i. Cartesian dualism ; and 4 anomalous monism, which allows only one class of entities, but denies the possibility of definitional and nomological reduction. Davidson put forth his theory of anomalous monism as a possible solution to the mind—body problem.
Anomalous monism explained
I P 4 I P 5 Spinoza showed no obvious sign of interest in whether one of these two causal orders is more fundamental. But since he was a strict determinist, it seems he believed that the relations that obtain among the items belonging to both causal sequences were law-like in nature. He may thus plausibly be read as having accepted the truth of something like statement 1. This might make it appear that he have endorsed statement 3 of our original trilemma at the price of rejecting statement 1. But this is perfectly consistent with the truth of statement 1. In this qualified sense, then, Spinozistic parallelism may be viewed as a genuine historical precursor to AM. Two questions immediately arise about the doctrine of parallelism as just described.
External links Overview The classic Identity theory and anomalous monism in contrast. For the Identity theory, every token instantiation of a single mental type corresponds as indicated by the arrows to a physical token of a single physical type. Hence there is type-identity. For anomalous monism, the token-token correspondences can fall outside of the type-type correspondences.