Anomalous Monism is a theory about the scientific status of psychology, the physical status of mental events, and the relation between these issues developed by Donald Davidson. It claims that psychology cannot be a science like basic physics, in that it cannot in principle yield exceptionless laws for predicting or explaining human thoughts and actions mental anomalism. It also holds that thoughts and actions must be physical monism, or token-identity. Thus, according to Anomalous Monism, psychology cannot be reduced to physics, but must nonetheless share a physical ontology. While neither of these claims, on its own, is novel, their relation, according to Anomalous Monism, is. It is precisely because there can be no such strict laws governing mental events that those events must be identical to physical events.

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Access to the full content is only available to members of institutions that have purchased access. If you belong to such an institution, please log in or find out more about how to order. Anomalous monism, proposed by Donald Davidson in , implies that all events are of one fundamental kind, namely physical. But it does not deny that there are mental events; rather, it implies that every mental event is some physical event or other.

There is just one event, that can be characterized both in mental terms and in physical terms. If mental events are physical events, they can, like all physical events, be explained and predicted at least in principle on the basis of laws of nature cited in physical science. The distinctive feature of anomalous monism as a brand of physical monism is that it implies that mental events as such that is, as described in mental terms are anomalous — they cannot be explained or predicted on the basis of strict scientific laws.

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Psychological anomalism. Psychophysical anomalism. Psychophysical anomalism and supervenience. DOI: Citing this article: McLaughlin, Brian P.. Anomalous monism, , doi


Anomalous monism

For the anomalous monist, the plausibility of property dualism derives from the fact that although mental states, events and processes have genuine causal powers, the causal relationships that they enter into with physical entities cannot be explained by appeal to fundamental laws of nature. It was a topic of energetic debate and disagreement among English-speaking philosophers for the last thirty years of the twentieth century. Anomalous Monism AM is a philosophical thesis about the place of the mind and of mental states in the natural order. Nonetheless, AM is distinguished from other positions in the philosophy of mind by the three following claims:.


Anomalous Monism

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 events are identical with physical events, and that the mental is anomalous, i. Since the publication of his paper, Davidson has refined his thesis and both critics and supporters of anomalous monism have come up with their own characterizations of the thesis, many of which appear to differ from Davidson's. 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.


Donald Davidson: Anomalous Monism

Sign in Create an account. Syntax Advanced Search. Summary Anomalous Monism is a philosophical theory about the mind-body relationship, developed by Donald Davidson. The theory has two components. One is the claim that the domain of mental events is anomalous, meaning that mentalistic descriptions of events, unlike physicalistic ones, are not subsumable under strict, exceptionless laws.


The type- identity theory , usually attributed to J. Smart Smart, and U. Place Place, , claimed that kinds of mental states are identical to kinds of brain states. Sensations of pain, for instance, were said to be identical to the firing of C-fibres or some such type of neurological state. According to this view, then, pain, conceived as a kind of mental state, is said to be reduced to a certain kind of neurological state. The reduction envisaged here was modelled on the kind of reduction seen in other areas of the sciences. For instance, lightning can be said to be reduced to a rapid discharge of electrons in the atmosphere.

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