Laws, Causality and the Intentional Explanation of Action

Laws, Causality and the Intentional Explanation of Action Whether or not an intentional explanation of action necessarily involves law-like statements is related to another question, namely, is it a causal explanation? The Popper–Hempel Thesis , which answers both questions affirmatively, inevitably faces a dilemma between realistic and universalistic requirements. However, in terms of W.C. Salmon’s concept of causal explanation, intentional explanation can be a causal one even if it does not rely on any laws. Based on this, we are able to refute three characteristic arguments for the claim “reason is not a cause of action,” namely, the “proper logical” argument, the “logical relation” argument, and the “rule-following” argument. This rebuttal suggests that the causal relationship between reason and action can provide a justification for intentional explanations. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Frontiers of Philosophy in China Brill

Laws, Causality and the Intentional Explanation of Action

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright 2010 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1673-3436
eISSN
1673-355X
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11466-010-0016-3
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Whether or not an intentional explanation of action necessarily involves law-like statements is related to another question, namely, is it a causal explanation? The Popper–Hempel Thesis , which answers both questions affirmatively, inevitably faces a dilemma between realistic and universalistic requirements. However, in terms of W.C. Salmon’s concept of causal explanation, intentional explanation can be a causal one even if it does not rely on any laws. Based on this, we are able to refute three characteristic arguments for the claim “reason is not a cause of action,” namely, the “proper logical” argument, the “logical relation” argument, and the “rule-following” argument. This rebuttal suggests that the causal relationship between reason and action can provide a justification for intentional explanations.

Journal

Frontiers of Philosophy in ChinaBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2010

Keywords: intentional explanation; causality; laws of nature; philosophy of the social sciences

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