Donald Davidson: Looking Back, Looking Forward (Volume Introduction)

  • Claudine Verheggen York University


The papers collected in this issue were solicited to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Donald Davidson’s birth. Four of them discuss the implications of Davidson’s views—in particular, his later views on triangulation—for questions that are still very much at the centre of current debates. These are, first, the question whether Saul Kripke’s doubts about meaning and rule-following can be answered without making concessions to the sceptic or to the quietist; second, the question whether a way can be found to answer Davidson’s own doubts about the continuity of non-propositional thought and language; third, the question whether normative properties can be at once causal and prescriptive; fourth, the question whether folk psychological explanations can be at once illuminating and autonomous. The fifth paper reexamines Davidson’s take on the principle of compositionality, which always was at the centre of his theorizing about language.


Davidson, Donald, 1973. “Radical Interpretation.” Reprinted in Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation, pp. 125–39. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984.

———, 1982. “Rational Animals.” Reprinted in Davidson (2001b), pp. 95–105.

———, 1987. “Knowing One’s Own Mind.” Reprinted in Davidson (2001b), pp. 15–38.

———, 1991. “Epistemology Externalized.” Reprinted in Davidson (2001b), pp. 193–204.

———, 1993. “Reply to Jerry Fodor and Ernest Lepore.” In Reflecting Davidson, edited by R. Stoecker, pp. 77–84. Berlin: de Gruyter.

———, 1995. “The Objectivity of Values.” Reprinted in Problems of Rationality, pp. 39–57. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2004.

———, 1998. “The Irreducibility of the Concept of Self.” Reprinted in Davidson (2001b), pp. 85–91.

———, 1999. “The Emergence of Thought.” Reprinted in Davidson (2001b), pp. 123–34.

———, 2001a. “Externalisms.” In Interpreting Davidson, edited by P. Kotatko, P. Pagin and G. Segal, pp. 1–16. Stanford: CSLI Publications.

———, 2001b. Subjective, Intersubjective, Objective. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Myers, Robert H. and Claudine Verheggen, 2016. Donald Davidson’s Triangulation Argument. A Philosophical Inquiry. New York: Routledge.

Żegleń, Urszula, ed., 1999. Donald Davidson. Truth, Meaning and Knowledge. London: Routledge.