on November 27, 2002
As the previous reviewer says, the book contains many of Davidson's seminal papers in the philosophy of language. This book, however, cannot be used as an introduction to anything, not to philosophy of language and not even to Davidson's. His style is extremely compressed, and sometimes he merely intimates what should be carefully explained. What it ideally takes two paragraphs to say, Davidson says in two lines; each sentence is therefore crammed up with thoughts; at some places the author becomes oracular.
I would love to say that Ramberg's book on Davidson can be of help for the beginner, but I must confess instead that I find Davidson's "Inquires" an excellent commentary on Ramberg.
This book will be understood only by those who are already trained in philosophy of language and who understand some logic too. I said "only by", not "by all".
For critical comments on the contents of the book, I refer the reader to a rather harsh and carping review by Jonathan Bennett, I think it was in "Mind", 1985.
As one reviewer in the backcover says, "struggle and learn". Here you have a great book by a great philosopher of language.
on September 8, 2011
Originally published in 1984 `Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation' is a compilation of Donald Davidson essays pertaining to the philosophy of language. For those unfamiliar with the author Davidson is one of the best known American philosophers of the late twentieth century, he has made noteworthy contributions in the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and epistemology.
Readers would be well advised to check the table of context prior to purchasing this text given that many of the essays have been previously published. Essays in this collection are largely concerned with the notions of meaning and truth essays, Davidson's writing on the philosophy of mind can be found in the companion volume `Essays on Actions and Events". In the present text there is considerable overlap between the essays, this, is not per se a bad think for either Davidson connoisseurs or newcomers seeking to get their head around his thought. For the former group the repetition allows one to follow the progression of his thought while for the latter group given that Davidson's prose is notoriously abstruse and awkward, repetition can be helpful. I read this text in conjunction with `Meaning, Truth, Language and Reality' by Lepore and Ludwig. And while Ludwig and Lepore are leading Davidson scholars the text is difficult and probably only of value for dedicated student of Davidson.
Overall, this is a handy collection of essays that I would recommend for readers interested in Davidson. Be forewarned, however, Davidson is an acquired taste. Readers new to philosophy are likely to find him tedious and pedantic.