Ernie Lepore in the NYT's The Stone:
Along with the words to be offered here is an interesting artifact— a photograph of an assembly of some of the most important and influential philosophers of the latter half of the 20th century on one fine day in April in 1984 in front of the Hyatt Hotel in downtown New Brunswick, N.J.
And of course there is a story behind it.
It begins with Donald Davidson, who died in 2003 at the age of 86, one of the most important philosophers of the latter half of the 20th century. Though his contributions are rich and widespread, he is probably best known for his work in three areas; The theory of meaning, especially his influential theory of interpretation; the philosophy of action, in particular, his view that our reasons for our actions both cause and justify them; and the philosophy of mind, especially his defense of the thesis that though every mental event is a physical event not every type of mental event may be identified with a type of physical event.
Davidson’s philosophy is unusually unified for someone making contributions to so many areas. But this unity is difficult to appreciate because it is represented exclusively in a series of compressed, even cryptic, articles he wrote over the course of more than 40 years. These essays overlap and often presuppose knowledge of one another; and together they form a mosaic out of which emerges one of the most integrated and elegant bodies of philosophical work of our era.