How serious is our ontological commitment to events as individuals?


  • Luiz Henrique de A. Dutra UFSC - Florianópolis - SC



This paper aims at discussing the usage by Davidson as to events of Quine's criterion of ontological commitment. According to Davidson, we are ontologically committed to the existence of events as individuals as we employ literally terms such as ‘Caesar’s death’, for instance. Davidson extends this analysis to actions as well, since actions are human events. One of the consequences of this view is that psychology deals
with individual events in a non-lawful way. An alternative view is here proposed, based on a complementary criterion, namely ontological density, according to which from the point of view of a given theory, we can always distinguish between events (or phenomena) and individuals (entities) among the overall occurrences described by the theory. Some consequences of this alternative view of psychology as a science dealing
lawfully with general human events are also explored here.