Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

Decision theory plays a central role in Davidson’s work. Based on the experimentations led in Stanford during the 1950s, it is possible to track down the origins and the foundations of the unified theory of thought, meaning and action. The‘wording effect’ and the omission of meanings undermine decision theory as a whole, hence the need to enlarge the basis of decision theory by integrating an interpretation theory that reflects mental holism more accurately.

Very few studies have focused on Donald Davidson’s work on decision theory: the emphasis has rather been put on his groundbreaking work on action theory and philosophy of language. Nevertheless, Davidson is, in many respects, a major author of experimental economics, which developed in the United States in the 1950s. Besides, it is worth noticing the significance of decision theory in Davidson’s work—as evidenced by his numerous articles in which he deals with both his research at Stanford in the 1950s3 and his attempt, based on Richard Jeffrey’s research, to build a ‘unified’ theory of action and language that would overcome the weaknesses of decision theory.


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