Donald Herbert Davidson, born in Springfield, Massachusetts on March 6, 1917, held the position of Willis S. and Marion Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley from 1981-2003. Working primarily in the fields of ethics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language, he is widely regarded as one of the most profound and influential American philosophers of his generation. A prolific writer and lecturer, Davidson published over 35 articles and essay compilations in his lifetime. He also contributed to the profession through his editorial stewardship of at least 12 premier academic journals.
Often recognized for the breadth of his approach to philosophical problems, Davidson was especially influenced by his esteemed mentor at Harvard, the preeminent American philosopher of logic and language William Van Orman Quine. They maintained a close relationship until Quine's death on Christmas Day in 2000.
During his lifetime, Davidson was the subject of over 20 conferences and over 20 works by others. He was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1975. In addition to his many other professional affiliations, Davidson served as president of the American Philosophical Association from 1985-1986. Donald Davidson died unexpectedly from cardiac arrest following knee surgery on August 31, 2003 in Berkeley, California, at the age of 86.
From the guide to the Donald Davidson papers, 1935-2003, bulk 1955-2003, (The Bancroft Library)