Events as Particulars

Donald Davidson

in Essays on Actions and Events

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780199246274
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191715198 | DOI:

Series: The Philosophical Essays of Donald Davidson (5 Volumes)

 Events as Particulars

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Davidson repeats the motivation for accepting the existence of events that he brought out in Essay 8, especially stressing that natural languages supply not only appropriate singular terms apparently denoting events but also the appropriate machinery of reference including quantification and identity‐statements involving those terms. He then looks at an alternative theory, espoused by Roderick Chisholm, in which events are not particulars but universals, denoted not by singular terms but expressed by complete sentences. Davidson asks how well the theory succeeds in dealing with adverbial modification (see Essay 6), whether Chisholm's events can be counted or quantified over, and whether a sentential theory can avoid collapsing all co‐referring ‘events’ into the one event that occurs (an argument Davidson spelt out in greater detail in Essay 8). More generally, he investigates what makes an entity ‘recurrent’, stressing the context‐relativity of required similarity across instantiations.

Keywords: adverbial modification; Chisholm; events; particulars; recurrent entity; universals

Chapter.  3287 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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