Donald Davidson

Donald Davidson is a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley and has just finished a year at Balliol College, Oxford. Oxford University Press has published two books of his: Essays on Actions and Events (1982) and Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation (1984). The article in this issue was given as an S.V. Keeling Memorial Lecture in Greek Philosophy at University College London last March. In the next issue Colin McGinn will write about Essays on Davidson: Actions and Events, a recent collection of critiques and rejoinders. Professor Davidson refers at one point to an important event in the world of scholarship: the publication of the first volume of a single-handed translation of Plato’s dialogues – the first such undertaking since Jowett. The Dialogues of Plato: Vol. I. (Yale University Press, 350 pp., £30, 0 300 03226 9) was published on 20 June. The single hand is that of R.E. Allen, Professor of Classics at Northwestern University. Allen’s commentaries are, according to Martha Nussbaum, ‘fine jobs of clear philosophical and historical explanation’, and his translations read beautifully. The dialogues translated in this inaugural volume are the Euthyphro, the Apology, the Crito, the Meno, the Gorgias and the Menexenus.

Plato’s Philosopher

Donald Davidson, 1 August 1985

It is a fine question how the aim and method of the philosophical enterprise is to be related to the beliefs we bring to that enterprise. It is bootless to pretend we can start by somehow setting aside the equipment with which we approach philosophy, for then there would be nothing with which to work. We can, however, ask whether the main point of philosophising is to examine, clarify, reconcile, criticise, regroup, or even unearth, the convictions or assumptions with which we began, or whether something more is possible: a search which might lead to knowledge or values that were not in sight at the start, and not necessarily implicit in what we then knew.

Mouse Thoughts

Jerry Fodor, 7 March 2002

I do wish Donald Davidson would write a book. I mean, a proper book with a beginning, a middle and an end, in contrast to the collections of papers of which the present volume is an instance. My...

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Hot Pursuit

P.F. Strawson, 19 July 1984

It has been said that philosophy of language, or the theory of meaning, should be recognised as the foundation of philosophy in general. That claim may reasonably be viewed with the scepticism...

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