Donald Davidson quotes

  • Terminological infelicities have a way of breeding conceptual confusion.
    -- Donald Davidson

    #Confusion #Way #Breeding

  • There are three basic problems: how a mind can know the world of nature, how it is possible for one mind to know another, and how it is possible to know the contents of our own minds without resort to observation or evidence. It is a mistake, I shall urge, to suppose that these questions can be collapsed into two, or taken into isolation.
    -- Donald Davidson

    #Mistake #Taken #Two

  • Nothing in the world, no object or event, would be true or false if there were not thinking creatures.
    -- Donald Davidson

    #Thinking #Events #Would Be

  • Mental events such as perceivings, rememberings, decisions, and actions resist capture in the net of physical theory.
    -- Donald Davidson

    #Decision #Events #Action

  • The dominant metaphor of conceptual relativism, that of differing points of view, seems to betray an underlying paradox. Differentpoints of view make sense, but only if there is a common co-ordinate system on which to plot them; yet the existence of a common system belies the claim of dramatic incomparability.
    -- Donald Davidson

    #Views #Plot #Common

  • If we cannot find a way to interpret the utterances and other behaviour of a creature as revealing a set of beliefs largely consistent and true by our standards, we have no reason to count that creature as rational, as having beliefs, or as saying anything.
    -- Donald Davidson

    #Behaviour #Utterance #Way

  • Even if someone knew the entire physical history of the world, and every mental event were identical with a physical, it would notfollow that he could predict or explain a single mental event (so described, of course).
    -- Donald Davidson

    #Events #World #Language

  • Conceptual relativism is a heady and exotic doctrine, or would be if we could make good sense of it. The trouble is, as so often in philosophy, it is hard to improve intelligibility while retaining the excitement.
    -- Donald Davidson

    #Philosophy #Doctrine #Would Be

  • A world of confusion and disappointment results from trying to believe without obeying.

  • When the Special Theory of Relativity began to germinate in me, I was visited by all sorts of nervous conflicts... I used to go away for weeks in a state of confusion.

  • In this world one must have a name; it prevents confusion, even when it does not establish identity. Some, though, are known by numbers, which also seem inadequate distinctions.

  • It is often wonderful how putting down on paper a clear statement of a case helps one to see, not perhaps the way out, but the way in.

  • To justify God's ways to man.

  • Just as modern motorways have no room for ox-carts or wandering pedestrians, so modern society has little place for lives and ways that are too eccentric.

  • It is time, therefore, to abandon the superstition that natural science cannot be regarded as logically respectable until philosophers have solved the problem of induction. The problem of induction is, roughly speaking, the problem of finding a way to prove that certain empirical generalizations which are derived from past experience will hold good also in the future.

  • A really companionable and indispensable dog is an accident of nature. You can't get it by breeding for it, and you can't buy it with money. It just happens along.

  • An offended heart is the breeding ground of deception.

  • Two years work wasted, I have been breeding those flies for all that time and I've got nothing out of it.