De Re and De Dicto Explanation of Action

Philosophia 40 (4):783-798 (2012)
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This paper argues for an account of the relation between thought ascription and the explanation of action according to which de re ascriptions and de dicto ascriptions of thought each form the basis for two different kinds of action explanations, nonrationalizing and rationalizing ones. The claim that de dicto ascriptions explain action is familiar and virtually beyond dispute; the claim that that de re ascriptions are explanatory of action, however, is not at all familiar and indeed has mostly been denied by philosophers. I explain how de re ascriptions enter into non-rationalizing explanations of action and how attention to their distinctive explanatory nature reveals flaws in an alternative “dual-component” view about action explanation.
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Word and Object.Quine, Willard Van Orman
Word and Object.Quine, Willard Van Orman; Churchland, Patricia Smith & Føllesdal, Dagfinn

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