Grazer Philosophische Studien

Volume 36, 1989

The Mind of Donald Davidson

Donald Davidson
Pages 193-200

The Conditions of Thought

This summary paper explains why we are not constrained to start from a solipsistic, or first person point of view in considering the nature of thought. My aim here is to suggest the nature of an acceptable extemalism. According to this view, knowledge of other minds need not be a problem m addition to the problem of empirical knowledge. The essential step toward determining the content of someone else's thought is made by discovering what normally causes those thoughts. Hence I believe that there could not be thoughts in one mind if there were not other thoughtful creatures with which the first mind shared a natural world.