chapter  9
The Good
Pages 23

Although Donald Davidson wrote a number of pieces 1 touching on ethics over the years, ethics has rarely been considered a central topic of his work. I think that ethics, broadly conceived as the implications of the conditions of rational agency, was a central topic in his thought if not completely overt in his writing. A central part of his account of interpretation is that interpretation treats another agent as “a believer of truths and a desirer of the good” (Davidson 1980, p. 222). The core Davidsonian ethical insight is that interpretation builds normativity into the simplest cases of understanding an agent. Semantics as composition of truth-conditions, along with his conception of objectivity, guarantee that a Davidsonian account of ethics will treat ethical sentences as having objective truth-values.