Are Reasons Causally Relevant for Action? Dharmakīrti and the Embodied Cognition Paradigm

In Steven Michael Emmanuel (ed.), Buddhist Philosophy: A Comparative Approach. Hoboken, USA: Wiley Blackwell. pp. 109–122 (2017)
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How do mental states come to be about something other than their own operations, and thus to serve as ground for effective action? This papers argues that causation in the mental domain should be understood to function on principles of intelligibility (that is, on principles which make it perfectly intelligible for intentions to have a causal role in initiating behavior) rather than on principles of mechanism (that is, on principles which explain how causation works in the physical domain). The paper considers Dharmakīrti’s kāryānumāna argument (that is, the argument that an inference is sound only when one infers from the effect to the cause and not vice versa), and proposes a naturalized account of reasons. On this account, careful scrutiny of the effect can provide a basis for ascertaining the unique causal totality that is its source, but only for reasoning that is context‐specific.
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